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London Travel Guide

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Why....travel to London?
Getting started
How do I get started?
Kit and caboodle
Recommended reading
Spoil yourself
Holidays and Vacations
Getting more out of....travelling to London
I've got the basics, what next?



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Why....travel to London?

Page Sponsored by: 4star London Apartments.com/

Stand on Waterloo bridge at sunset and gaze along the swinging bends of the great river Thames.

Look west to the Victorian gothic home to the Mother of Parliaments or look east to the 17th Century skyline of St Paul's and the many ancient spires and churches of London.

Look east to the 'City' and Europe's predominate financial center built on ancient Roman streets such as Watling Street and old Saxon markets - such as Threadneedle street and cloth fair.

Even further east lies the Tower of London - home to the Crown Jewels and much 16th Century intrigue and the location of the original Roman city of Londinium.

Looking up and down the wide bends of the River Thames itself, you'll see many bridges - from the famous raise draw bridge of Tower Bridge to the new Millennium footbridge link a new Post Modern art gallery on the South Bank - the Tate Modern - with London Legal centre on the North Bank.

As this single panoramic view captures skylines and history and events that shaped the world for hundreds and thousands of years ago you'll begin to believe the words of Dr Samuel Johnson

"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford"
Dr Samuel Johnson, 18th Century author

London, whist steeped in history, remains a vibrant dynamic city. The music scene, comedy clubs, night clubs, restaurants and bars reflect the worldly cosmopolitan mix of this international city.

And London has it's famous residents too - whether the Queen at Buckingham Palace, or the recent home of Princess Diana, to more mortal stars of pop music, film and theatre.

Indeed, London's creative binge shows no sign of slowing, with the world famous Theatre productions in Piccadilly and Shaftesbury Avenue (Theatre Land) to modern, alternative and creative artistic ventures on the fringes.

Whether you come to London to shop, to watch or just to absorb the speed, dynamism and deep routed history, you can't fail to find the thing that you are looking for.

London is a living city. With more and more people choosing to return to central London living, the old districts - such as the Covent Garden flower market and Soho, have shed their shady and faded image and become bustling and exciting places full of street events and bursting with creativity/

Having said that, London still has it fair share of architectural sins, as 1970s office blocks break the flow of Georgian Terraces

Nevertheless, London is a city for walking. Buy a map, jump on a tube and then get lost in the tangled web of London streets and history.

As Oliver Wendell Holmes once said:

"No person can be said to know London. The most that anyone can claim is that he knows something of it."

Tell us what got you interested in travelling to London.



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Getting started

When to come

London is not as cold and wet as you might think! And there have been no sightings of the infamous London fog for many years now! In fact, Paris receives much more rain that London!

Nevertheless, it is worth timing your visit.

London, in the summer (June, July and Aug), can reach the hot and stickiness of Mediterranean cities. At this time of year, there is a great rush to the cooler suburbs of Wimbledon (Tennis) or near by Ascot (Horse racing) or Henley (Rowing) along with many summer music festival from Opera to Rock.

May is probably the most beautiful month of the year, as the many blossom trees of west London bloom and green richness of the London parks are at their best.

Equally, September can be a warm and more moderate month.

Days tend to be short and dull from November through to February.

Getting There and Accommodation

London is a easy city to fly to with a total of 5 international airports. Although some of these, such as Luton, can be over 1 hours journey away from the center.

For this reason, Eurostar - the express train service from Paris and Brussels which terminates at London Waterloo is a favoured mode of transport for any one who needs to get to the centre quickly.

Equally, Heathrow to the west and the smaller City Airport to the east (serving the financial district) offer the quickest routes into the city centre.

Heathrow has recently opened an express train service that reaches Paddington in London's West End in 15 minutes - the same 10 mile trip could take over 1 hour by taxi in the rush hour.

Gatwick and Stansted make up London's other two major international airports.

London is a surprisingly large city - ie. it sprawls for many miles. So don't be surprised if your journey takes longer than expected.

That coupled with the tightly knit streets of the centre (yes 'center' is spelt differently there) make a journey both a historical trip through time as well as lengthy and often unreliable!

London Accommodation

London is an expensive place to stay. Escalating property prices coupled with a relatively strong currency, mean that London is considerable more costly than other European Cities.

No where is this more pronounced than in its accommodation.

At the top end, you can stay in top London Hotels such at the Savoy Hotel or Dorchester Hotel for 350+ per night.

At the bottom end you can stay in one the many student and back packer hostels

Many visitors and business travellers these days select London Serviced Apartments instead. These offer the comforts of you own fully furnished apartments in the heart of London, combined with the ease and comfort of a daily maid service.

Alternatively see London Apartments accommodation service for more details and free help finding this kind of accommodation.

These are ideal for anyone who is planning on staying more than a couple of days or wants to avoid the excessive prices of hotels for longer stays.

Other useful sites include:
4 StarLondon Apartments
London Apartments Rentals



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Getting more out of....travelling to London

WHAT TO DO IN LONDON

There is so much to do in London, that it's kind of hard to know where to begin. So, we've gone for a few favourites - with lots of links to get your creative thoughts flowing:

Theatre

Who doesn't love the theatre? Well, check out

London Theatres for the latest goings on in 'luvvy land'.

Site Seeing - 7 of the best:

  • Buckingham Palace
  • Horse Guards Parade
  • Winsor Castle
  • Tower of London
  • Hampton Court and Kensington Palace
  • Houses of Parliament
  • Things to do

    Here are some of our favourite things to do with links to latest events:


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    Kit and caboodle

    Need a good book, video or more advice? JoJaffa has picked out the best for you. For each book/ video just click on the amazon link find out the price and get more information.

    If you can suggest any good books about travelling to London, let us know.

    Recommended Reading

    Books : Time Out Guide to London
    by Time Out
    London is a melee of hundreds of different things. Making sure you find the events and trips that matter to you is crucial to you enjoying your London stay These guys live London and know London like no one else. If you want a guide book - this is the one to have.

    Amazon UKin association with...Amazon US

    Books : London by Underground
    by Michael Brein
    A new vistor to London will use the Underground. Brein's book guides you round the maze - and most importantly, tells you when to get off to see something remarkable.

    Amazon UKin association with...Amazon US



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    Spoil yourself

    As with every thing, London can offer you every type of shop and goods from all over the world.

    Here are some of the favourite shopping spots

    • Harrods the famous Knightsbridge and west London store
    • Harvey Nichols of Kensington - a great place to shop for fashion
    • Hamleys of Regents Street - which bills itself as the finest toy shop in the world! (A debatable point, but at least Prince Charles shops there!)
    • Bonhams auctioneers of English antiques

    If you have a little more time or are feeling adventurous try:

    • Camden Market for goods and music from across the globe.
    • Portobello Road market - once an street antiques market - now a trend location in the boom Notting Hill district.
    • Jermyn Street for a taste of the English Gentleman's shop



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    Open Outcry

    Got a question? Get an answer!

    Post a message to the london_travel_guide discussion board.

    You might just

    • have a general question about travelling to London?
    • want to make a comment
    • want to share tips and advice with fellow JoJaffa-ers?

    ... Then why not use our travelling to London chat board

    Maybe someone has already asked that burning question you're longing to find the answer to ...



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    If you are interested in travelling to London, you'll probably also enjoy some or all of the following

    Accommodation:

    London Rental Apartments - "Much better than a hotel..."

    4 Star London Apartments - "we had a great time in London and South Kensington, in particular the apartment we stayed was something out of Mary Poppins, and the location was unbelievable."



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