gasp, cough

Nov. 9th, 2008 09:22 pm
verabee: (chiiiii)
[personal profile] verabee
I'm currently staggering my way through either a viral throat infection or a cold (not sure which yet) so bear with me if this doesn't make any sense.

I swore when I got home from Moscow that I would not leave the country for at least a year. But the opportunity to go to England presented itself and before I thought it through all the way I said yes. I've thought it through all the way now and it's still a pretty good idea, 18 hour travel time notwithstanding.


What shall I do there. I lived in London for two years, but those two years were spent being 12 and 13 and not having any money, so I didn't get up to much. A ton of people I know have been there recently, and this is me asking what they did. What did you do! What did you eat!!!

(No, I do not want to see Equus.)

so far I know that I want to go to the Orla Kiely store and the Victoria and Albert Museum, but that's about it.

Bonus if you have activity suggestions for Bristol and Manchester, but I'm more concerned about London amusements at present. I am leaving on Thursday. I hope I am done being sick soon. :(

Date: 2008-11-10 05:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
asdklfjalgkasfdlkajs LONDON!! ENGLAND!!

Okay so I've totally been to London twice in the past year-ish with my mom. We went to Oxford, Stonehenge and Bath, as well as all around London. I'm going to give you a rundown of the best things we did.

I don't know anything about Bristol or Manchester, but Oxford and Stonehenge are TOTALLY WORTH VISITING if you have time/money for daytrips out of London. I know, I know—trust me. Stonehenge = fucking amazing, especially at this time of year when it's chilly and sort of forbidding. Also, there are less likely to be as many tourists there this time of year. (But bring warm clothes, for the love of God.) If you do go to Stonehenge and you have time to hang out in Salisbury (which is where you will stop on the way to Stonehenge, because Salisbury station is where the buses for Stonehenge leave from), it's a beautiful little old English town and Salisbury cathedral is lovely.

Oxford is very old and stately and beautiful and they filmed parts of the Harry Potter films there, and if you DO go to Oxford, make sure to check out the Turf Tavern; it's an old English pub where Oscar Wilde (among other people) used to hang out. Also, Blackwell's is like the Powell's of England. Huge, awesome book store.

Okay, next comment London!

Date: 2008-11-10 05:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Okay, being a total egyptian nut I would totally hit the british museum, but that's not for everyone.
Hmmm...what else...I've not been to england much (6 hours doesn't count), so not much else to add.
Weeeeee for me being helpful (sarcasm!)

Date: 2008-11-10 05:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There are SO MANY wonderful museums to visit in London and the best part is that the vast majority of them are free. I don't know how much time you have while you're there, but even if you only have a little while make sure you put the V&A (Victoria & Albert, yes yes), the Tate Modern, and the British Museum at the very top. Oh my god the British Museum. You could, literally, spend 8 hours a day there for a week and not see everything that's in that museum, it's THAT BIG. They have tons and tons of artifacts from all over the world, including priceless pieces like the Rosetta Stone. It makes me want to pee myself from joy every time I visit it.

The Tate Modern is housed in an old electric factory (I believe) and is one of the coolest art museums I've ever been to. I am retarded when it comes to art, but I loved the Tate; I could spend hours there. Definitely worth checking out. It's right on the Thames, too, and you can see St. Paul's Cathedral across the Millenium Bridge from the Tate's front walk. (St. Paul's is also worth visiting if you like great architecture and historical buildings.)

The Globe Theatre is just a short walk down the Thames from the Tate Modern, and I don't know if you're the Shakespeare nerd that I am, but I found it fascinating. There's a great tour of it available almost every day, and if they are still performing plays there at this time of year you should TOTALLY GO. We saw A Midsummer Night's Dream there in May and it was so funny my mom and my best friend and I were literally screeching and tearing up with laughter. (My mom is almost sixty. So many physical humor penis jokes. AMAZING.)

More in the next comment! Omg I'm spamming your journal, I'm so sorry....

Date: 2008-11-10 05:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My most favorite amongst favorites cockatil bars in london; Frevd (,0,7478356190754559782&sa=X&oi=local_result&resnum=1&ct=image). its small and underground but most of the bartenders are flare artists and can make you a hella-of-a cocktail for not too high of a london price.

Hope you have fun! Visit the Tate Modern and its sister place the Tate Britain.

Date: 2008-11-10 05:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If you are looking for more alternative culture stuff to do, check out Camden Town. It's a huge open-air market and you can find the most ridiculous and/or awesome things there. Fun for people-watching too.

If you are a book nerd, go to Charing Cross Road. You can walk up it for like... a mile, and there's all kinds of book stores there, from great used bookstores to a huge five-story monolith called Foyle's, to antiquarian books where you can find very old books and collector's items. (I am not entirely sure what you are looking for while there so I am just listing everything that made me squee for joy while I was visiting, basically.)

Erm, let's see. What else... Well, if you have the time, the guidebook we used (which was actually really great) was Fodor's Guide to London 2008. They have good recommendations for food and very helpful layouts & maps, too. And London can be a very confusing city.

I hope this helps!! HAVE FUN!!!

Date: 2008-11-10 06:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sir John Soane's Museum. Pure awesomeness. Get there early.

Date: 2008-11-10 05:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Seconded on Soane's, it's brilliant.

To which I add: the the Cartoon Museum, which is just a few blocks from the British Museum and has lots of great original British comics pages going back a few centuries.

See if you can take in a play or two; it's worth a day trip out to Stratford if you can get tickets to a Royal Shakespeare show.

The British Library has tons of fascinating first draft manuscripts of famous writers on display in a very dim room.

Someone mentioned Liberty's, but I'd make it a priority; the store is so gorgeous and the things they sell so amazing from a design standpoint.

And ride the London Eye. Have fun!

Date: 2008-11-10 06:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
How long will you be there, and when are you going to Bristol/Manchester?

Date: 2008-11-10 08:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
East London is really nice for culture and socializing. Head to Brick Lane (near Liverpool Street and Algate) and you should find a few good pubs and lovely artist book stores/galleries.

There's the Comica event at the ICA (central London, in the mall - so near Trafulgar Square) which goes from the 14 November - 30 November. There's a list of events at the web site

The best thing to do, is when you land get a copy of Time Out (or have a look on line... it's a listings mag but tells you what to do, what's on, etc.

Have fun!

Date: 2008-11-10 09:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh man, this is your chance to make the Queen's Guards break their stone cold, emotionless face!!! DOOO EEEEET!!!

I have never been there, so I have nothing serious to offer.

I am jealous.

Have fun :)

Date: 2008-11-10 10:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I did this once! My friend said in earshot of a guard 'what does he do when he wants a wee' and I said 'he does it does his leg, that's why his boots are so shiny'. The guard cracked an uncontrollable smile!

Date: 2008-11-11 03:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh NICE! Way to go!!!

Date: 2008-11-11 04:04 am (UTC)

Date: 2008-11-10 09:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Depending when you get to Manchester, the Christmas markets are always worth spending a couple of gluhwein soaked hours in. Traders from all over Europe come to the city centre and sell gifts, food and booze. They are held in Albert Square and St. Ann's Square.
The city art gallery is worth a quick look around too and it's right next to China Town which has the delightful Ho's Bakery.
I live in the city and run a social site for comic artists, writers and illustrators called the Manchester Comix Collective ( Once a month we meet up in a bar for a Drink 'n' Draw. If you are around I think you'd enjoy that too.

Date: 2008-11-10 12:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My favorite things to do in London: get a vegetarian curry on Drummond Street (by Euston Station), hang out in the crafts department of Liberty (for fine yarn and amazing fabric) or catch a knitting nite at I Knit London, see a football match (Fulham FC usually has tickets on ), catch a film at the BFI by Waterloo or the Ritzy in Brixton, get a pizza at Franco Manca at Brixton Market. I like shopping for crazy clothes at any of the Traid shops and at What the Butler Wore or Radio Days, both by Waterloo. For comics you can't beat Gosh!, it's right across from the British Museum. And check out the British Library for amazing free exhibitions.
Have a great time!

Date: 2008-11-10 03:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
i really dug the british museum [mummys! rosetta stone! etc!], the red bus tour is a nice touristy way of getting around/getting the history, some good shopping in Camdentown [nifty clothes, cool record shops], London Eye: fun, & the Astoria is a nice rock venue. sorry if i'm repeating what everyone's already told you!

PS: i tried, and failed, to make those red guards laugh. i am not funny.

Date: 2008-11-10 04:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I only spent 2 days in London, but I recommend Wagamama, an awesome noodle bar. Also the Tower of London was great, we spent the whole morning there. The Beefeater tour guide was knowledgeable and funny, I'm not usually into joining the tour groups.

Date: 2008-11-10 04:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If you're going to Manchester ask little Johnny Allison to point you in the direction of FUN! He took Chris and I to some good eats and neat shops!


Date: 2008-11-10 05:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Go to the British Library (nearest tube is King's Cross/St. Pancras, where you can also see the entrance to platform 9 3/4) and see the treasure room. The door is in the main entrance hall, up some stairs and to the left. They have things on display like two of the surviving four copies of the Magna Carta, Jane Austen's writing desk, the first copy of Alice in Wonderland in Lewis Carroll's own handwriting, and pages out of Michelangelo's notebooks. It is AMAZING. And free.

Date: 2008-11-10 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]


Date: 2008-11-10 09:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Equus isn't on in London anymore!

And I pretty much second everything that has been mentioned already. Except maybe Stonehenge and um, Wagamamas :D But that's just me.

But to reiterate everyone else, my favourite thing to do when I am showing folk around London is to walk down the Southbank, starting from London Bridge and ending up in Westminster. It takes in the aforementioned Globe and Tate Modern (which has an amazing view of ST Pauls and the rest of the Thames from the viewing rooms upstairs), winds past the Southbank Centre (which always has lots of free events going on) and the London Eye before ending up by the Houses of Parliament.

I'd hit up all the big museums and art galleries as they are free and AMAZING. If you're already visiting the V&A, it's worth also popping into the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum as they are all next to each other. Oh! And I can't belive no one has mentioned this but MARKETS. Borough Market (by London Bridge) is wonderful for food in the morning; also Spitalfields/Brick Lane (great for Asian food) and Portobello.

Greenwich is not quite in central, but is gorgeous. It's a world heritage site! You can check out the greenwich meridian, the super royal park, the royal observatory and the cutty sark! Except not really as it is covered up from the fire damage. There's also a market on weekends and the National Maritime Museum if you're into seafaring goodness. If you're especially ambitious, you could always get to Greenwich via the foot tunnel under the Thames!

Someone suggested frevds, which is right by seven dials (where the Orla Kiely store is) so I guess you could kill two birds with one stone. There's also one in Oxford, which I would also second! You can visit lots of the colleges and they are beautiful; there is also a lovely covered market in Oxford and G&D's which is a great ice cream chain (of two) stores.

Date: 2008-11-12 11:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
V&A is always good value and the National Gallery's worth a visit, make sure to look at the floor, the mosaics are incredible. Anteros/Eros in Picadilly should be visited.

The German and European Christmas markets kick off in Manchester from the 18th November as has been mentioned. The John Ryland's library on Deansgate is just down from the Christmas markets and has designer bookbinding exhibitions on at the moment and the building is awesome (I work there, it's really good). Central Library in Manchester is also really worth a look, the acoustics in the dome are awesome, Cornerhouse cinema is good with exhibitions and smaller films. Fab Cafe is worth a visit but TV21's a good, larger update, both are sci-fi/cult tv and film themed bars.
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