London Fogged

Published 17 years, 4 months past

So I’m here in London, midway through a two-day workshop on CSS and XHTML.  I’ll be doing that all day Friday, collapsing into a coma, and then rocking out at the BBC Backstage bash on Saturday night before boarding a flight for America on Sunday.

That leaves me all day Saturday in London to do… something.  Anyone have any good suggestions?  In a past visit, I’ve seen St. Paul’s, Buckingham Palace, and the Houses of Parliament from the outside; ridden a double-decker; and wandered a few of the parks; but beyond that London’s a pretty well unknown realm to me.  I’m up for a last-minute group gathering or just pointers on what a tenderfoot ought to make sure he does before setting off again.  What say you, gentle readers?

Comments (45)

  1. Head back to St Pauls and across the Millenium Bridge (no longer wobbling). Into the Tate Modern and get your tickets for Carsten Höller’s Slides Level four holds a surprise twist.

  2. The Tower of London is a must, but be prepared to spend several hours there. Also, did you go up to the top of the St. Paul’s? If you haven’t you really should. Suggesting the science museum on the blog of a web developer seems rather ironic, but another very good museum. That’s probably enough for a whole day, and the most notable things I can think of off the top of my head :).

    Heck, I could go on for ages about good places to visit in London (I live in Scotland, but have gone to London more times in my life than I can remember :P)!

  3. And if you are there, you might as well then head along the South Bank to The London Eye. The trick here is to book your tickets in advance so that you don’t have to queue.

  4. Head to South Kensington (Circle/District/Picadilly Lines) and go to the Science, Natural History and V&A Museums… Good times all around :)

  5. The London Eye has the best view, or a quicker option is just to see the view from Waterloo Bridge and then walk down the South Bank.

    Hampton Court Palace is where Henry VIII lived — it’s superb. You have to get a train from Waterloo to get there.

  6. Eric ;)

    great first day – thanks so much, you’ve put my mind at rest that I am going in the right direction … great to hear your thoughts and insights ;)
    Looking forward to tomorrow :)

    just received an email from a friend of mine about an event tomorrow evening (haven’t been myself so I don’t know anything about it personally)… You might be too exhausted for this but thought you might be interested: MiniBar [last month’s page]

    see you tomorrow ;)

  7. The Science Museum is a good call – a day well spent. If that doesn’t occupy the whole day for you there’s the Natural History Museum next door which has a life size blue whale amongst many other cool exhibits. At the moment there is an ice rink outside also.

    If you fancy something a little less educational may I suggest my favourite restaurant and bar The Boisdale which has a whisky list thicker than any wine list I have ever seen!

    Just avoid the main shopping areas as they will be hell this time of year although having said that Covent Garden is nice.

    Just enjoy!

  8. You should check out out Madame Tussauds its pretty awesome (although their site isn’t!) either that or check out one of the shows in the west end

  9. Oh I should say it’s the Boisdale in Belgravia I enjoy…

  10. You could try Kew Botanic Gardens – nice to get away from the hustle and bustle. Or if you like browsing endless stalls of junk collectables, spend some time at Camden Lock. You can easily waste some time around Covent Garden, where you’ll find the Royal Opera House (you could take a backstage tour). Or get out of the city and take the train to Brighton for some sea air and a stroll on the pier.

  11. I really recommend climbing up the Monument, which is on the circle line. It was built after the fire of London in 1666 and gives a really good view over London. Either that or London eye.

  12. tate modern is great.

    Or just get on the 73 seven sisters bus to hackney find a local pub next to a bookies put on a coupon and sit all afternoon watching the football results come in. You will prob meet some randoms that will be your best mate by the end of the night or just get robbed.

  13. I can offer you a beer by Tower Bridge. Hope you dodged the twister today!

    Let us know what the venue on Saturday is like; my friend’s booked it for her birthday in January.

  14. omg… one saturday in London, the possibilities are near endless!
    ART: the Tate Modern, National portrait gallery, Victoria and Albert, ICA (institute of contemporary arts)

    History: The BM (british museum), Tower of London, Hampton court

    Shopping: Oxford st, Camden market, portobello market

    Family: Madame Tussards, London dungeon

    There is so much more… My favourite places in London are the BM and the Tate modern. Both are very inspirational!

    But how about this for a day, early morning at the tower, then up the northern line to camden (get off at chalk farm) and visit the stables market, walking down to camden town. Then after late lunch zip off for a couple of hours at the BM, and then on for drinks in soho or islington after. After that day you will sleep well!

  15. If you like history stuff, The Imperial War Museum is unbeatable. I go every time I’m in London, and doubt I’ve explored a third of it. Also, the public markets on weekend mornings are pretty great, if you like walking around staring at things and people.

  16. Walk across Abbey Road? :)

  17. Covent garden is a nice place to hang out for a while, some good nooks around there to peek into. All the museums are good, you may want to try the London Dungeons for a slightly different experience…

    Something I used to do in London is to just get on any tube/bus and get off at random spots, there is such much around that you are bound to bump into something interesting, at least you will make use of your travel card…

  18. Lots of good suggestions so far, and a number that I’d second:

    British Museum – Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome are amazing collections. (Hooray for the golden age of thieving archeology!) Embarassingly, I went for the first time only last year, and was utterly blown away.

    Victoria and Albert Museum – strong focus on decorative arts, with great collections of Asian art, sculpture, photography, and fashion. (You’d probably prefer the BM, but they’re both cool.)

    Kew Gardens – a lovely place to spend time, but perhaps not ideal for a December day.

    Hampton Court Palace – Amazing palace, well worth a visit, but far enough out of town that it’ll blow your entire day to go.

    Covent Garden/Camden Lock – good for wandering, interesting shops, and places to grab random bites to eat. (Like Neal’s Yard) Probably best as a small part of your free day.

    Have a great time, seeing London in fast-forward!

  19. Another vote for the walk across the Millennium Bridge and the Tate Modern. Then while you’re across the river go on the tour of the Globe Theater (unfortunately the season is over) but the tour is still worth it. If you don’t want to cross the river check out The Churchill Museum & Cabinet War Rooms. The Cabinet War Rooms are great and the Churchill Museum is a new addition that is wonderful.

  20. Go visit London Dungeon. I’ve never neglected to visit the dungeon while in London.

  21. For the best fayre in the whole of London town head to Borough Market on Saturday morn. Food pornography.

  22. The suggestions people have given so far have been largely ones I would wholeheartedly endorse.

    In the interests of completeness, I will mention The National Gallery (on Traflagar square, just around the corner from the National Portrait Gallery). Personally, I’m quite happy to go just to look at Seurat’s Bathers at Asnières but they have a wide range of mostly European art from about 1250 so there’s quite likely to be something you like.

    Otherwise, if you are feeling hungry, Borough Market is probably London’s best-known food market, with some really top quality stuff on offer.

    Also bear in mind that al the museums and galleries (but not tourist attractions like Madam Tussauds) are free, although they may have special exhibitions that cost money. In the case of very popular places like the Tate Modern, it may be worth paying for the exhibition just to avoid the crush.

  23. If I was your guide, this is where we’d go.

    In the morning visit Borough Market (London Bridge tube) for a feel of old Dickensian London. You’ll be able to grab a fantastic coffee and excellent food and wander amongst the dozens of stalls selling food from every corner of the UK (and beyond). From there, it’s a lovely stroll along the river (westbound) past Shakespeares Globe Theatre and Tate Modern. Definitely visit Tate Modern – it’s truly outstanding.

    From there continue walking along the South Bank past the theatres, skaters and tourists and check out the London Eye (you don’t have to go on it – it’s worth just craning your neck and staring up at it!

    Finally, walk over the Jubilee Footbridge (the funky white one next to the Eye) to Trafalgar Square (popping into the National Gallery if you fancy a bit more art) and wander into Covent Garden for some Xmas shopping or to escape to a pub – I recommend the The Salisbury on St Martin’s Lane, a true Victorian classic.

    Let us know how you get on! :-)

  24. Take an open-top bus tour if the weather’s clear (but wrap up warm at this time of year!). I lived in London for a few years in 80s and early 90s, and only a couple of years ago did the tour bus thing. It was a revelation, and exposed parts of London to me I never knew existed. The live commentary was interesting and funny, with a nice balance of history and fascinating facts. And you can hop-on and hop-off at your leisure (although if you get a good guide you may want to stay on).

    To be honest if you follow any of the advice from the good folk above you’ll have a great time, but if I had to recommend one attraction it would be the British Museum.

  25. Since nobody’s suggested it yet, how about the Cabinet War Rooms? It’s quite fascinating. The Churchill Museum, which is in the same, erm, bunker includes some electronic displays of documents which might be of professional interest too.

    Whenever I’m in London, I always take a look through the second-hand bookshops on Charing Cross Road, there’s also the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery nearby.

    If you’re prepared to brave the crowds, take a look at the Christmas lights on Regent Street. If you’re a real glutton for punishment, you can look for something for Carolyn at Hamleys – the country’s biggest toy shop. Bedlam at this time of year, but who doesn’t like toy shops?

  26. Eric, as far shopping is one of the interests: Camden is a nice place to go and also Covent Garden


  27. I’m in agreement with Tiff; the Imperial War Museum is well worth a look (despite what you might think, it gives a lot of food for thought from a neutral perspective); the Holocaust Exhibit is particularly interesting, and of course, rather harrowing.

    If you’re in a lighter mood, there is the excellent Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit at the National History Museum. The weather forecast for tomorrow is for clear weather (so bring your shades), so you don’t necessarily have to spend it indoors.

  28. If it is sunny walk down the South Bank from Waterloo to Tower Bridge. Some great Architecture along the way, cafes, buskers and street artists. The Design Museum is worth a visit down there. You get a real sense of old Dockland London down there too.

  29. I like the British Museum particularly the covered court yard and the Egytptian rooms.

    Alexandra Palace is quite good – amazing views over London – if you go via Crouch End there are some nice restaurants. If you go via Finsbury Park you see the English class system in action.

    Highgate cemetary is a good – you can see Marxs grave amongst others – it’s very atmospheric.

    Westminster Tube station apart from the fact my Dad was one of the engineers who worked of the Jubilee Line extension the station is pretty amazing.

    The Lloyd building is quite interesting – there is a visitors room where you can go and see whats going on – or there was last time I went.

    A boat trip down the Thames to Greenwich – thats always fun although the weather will probably be a bit crap. Then in Greenwich there is the Cutty Sark – an old sailing ship and the Observatory along with the National Maritime Museum.

    Another of my favourites is the Imperial War Museum – they had a great exhibition about the Spanish Civil war – they usually have something on there.

  30. Get to White Hart Lane for the Tottenham – Charlton Derby. Although it isn’t the biggest game in the world, there is nothing like a highly contested derby (game between two teams from the same city, pronounced darby) in the Premiership.

    Attending one of these games will also make you wonder why we need cheerleaders, mascots and hot dog guns to stay interested in a sporting event on this side of the pond.

  31. If you want to come down to Greenwich, I’ve been known to take the occasional gathering of geeks around the Observatory.

    Mind you, tonight is the traditional Maritime Museum xmas ball in the Queen’s House, so tomorrow is probably the traditional xmas hangover in my living room.

  32. Just another vote for the Tate Modern. The slides are amazing fun! I’ve not tried it personally, but the suggestion of the London Eye is a also good one. It’s only a short bus ride away from Tate Modern

  33. Ask random people if it was at all possible for somebody’s voice to sound exactly like Dr. Drew’s. Great voice.

  34. If you want to go out on the town for a really good night then go to Shoreditch. There are loads of restaurants, bars and nightclubs with people in their mid twenties and up. A very nice place to party!

  35. I am stuck at work – it’s Saturday the 9th Dec 2006 and I am in desperate need of some CSS help – can’t get my divs to float right, fancy coming to help on your only day off in London? I am on fleet st, just down from St Pauls (sorry I know you’ve been there already!) – much appreciated. your pal. Andrew.

  36. Aw man, wish I’d seen this two days ago. I live in Vauxhall, and my flatmate just got a Wii. Come over! We’ll have a blast.

  37. The British museum great court and the reading room are worth a peek.

  38. Try the Science Museum. They have the excellent GameOn exhibition on at the moment charting the history of Video Games back to the 60s. Lots of hands on free play exhibits on some legendary games and hardware. Geek heaven! Oh and its only £8.50 entrance.

  39. Eric ;)

    I hope you had a good last day in London…

    Thank you very much for great workshop – it was brilliant ;)
    Have a good trip home.

    All the best :)

  40. Heya Eric,

    Good to meet you Thursday/Friday – had a great time at the workshop and left feeling good about myself and my skills as I had hoped…

    Hope you had a good time in London, apart from it being rather windy there weather wasn’t SOO bad!!!!!

    Thanks again

  41. Primrose Hill.

  42. Did anyone at the BBC Backstage party comment on your likeness to Bill Mumy?

  43. I’d suggest the British Museum (already mentioned once or twice)- especially the Egyptian collection.

    I enjoyed seeing the Rosetta Stone, something that has always held my facination since I was a kid and first read about it.

  44. Yeah, go check out the London Sketch Club, the “historic graphic artists’ club”.

  45. Eric,

    I’ve never been there, but Dorothea of Caveat Lector recently posted a rave about the British Library:

    Oh, you’re already gone. No stress, life is long! Looking forward to Boston in March!

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