Friday, December 28, 2007

London 1: sight seeing

So for a while now I have been thinking I should make some videos which answer some of my literal 'FAQ's. Ie, people email me quite alot saying something along the lines of:
"Hi!! Me and my husband/family/friends are coming to London for a weekend/week/day and want to know where we should visit!"

Now..... I have to be honest- these emails often enrage me because people expect to be able to see all of quaint itty bitty london town in a few hours or something, and then hop on a bus to stone henge. So I usually don't answer them.

BUT, I should, I know. So I am going to try to give a London guide for tourists on here, to some day hopefully be made into a video. I have to plan it out first so I may as well plan it right here on my blog, so I can direct people here if they ask me.

First of all. LONDON IS A FUCKING HUGE CITY. It is HUGE. You are not going to see everything in one day. Just forget about it.

If you ARE here for one day only, before you jet off to the rest of Europe (to see the entirety in one week or something) then you might as well just do the regular old tourist things and just watch a lot of other tourists doing the same as you. For me, that sucks in any city because you aren't experiencing anything real, you may as well just watch someone elses home movies of their vacations there.
But if you insist on pig headedly thinking its going to be fine to visit it for an afternoon, get one of the tourist tour busses. They will take you around with an audio commentary for something like £20. They will show you all the sights, like Buckingham Palace (BORING, trust me-- most boring palace in all of England, let alone Europe. Germany and France have some way better castles), the houses of parliament (quite cool) and other crap like that. It is worth doing if you have only a day, or a day to spare in your London travels. But that is not experiencing London properly, any way you look at it.

There are certain places I would recommend any visitor to London to go and 'sight see', regardless of how you get there (but bear in mind, when people complain about how expensive London is, its because amongst other n00bish mistakes, they travel around in our extortionate taxis. TRAVEL BY TUBE TRAIN!! (more on that in a further post).

1. Don't bother to go see Buckingham palace. I know you still will, but trust me, its far away from the railings, you definitely aren't going to catch a glimpse of anyone interesting, especially not the queen, and it is surrounded by tourists. It is also the most boring building. Go see pretty much anything else in London, trust me.

2. Do go to see the Houses Of Parliament. They are really impressive buildings, right on the river Thames, and they encompass Big Ben, the huge clock, which you ought to see up close as it is really big.

3. St Paul's Cathedral- I haven't ever been inside it but it is mighty purdy lookin.

4. Do take a river boat down the Thames. I would say do this instead of the bus thing because it is relaxing and fun (cause it's on a boat!) and they often have commentary, and most of the cool places are on the river anyway.

5. Do take time out to visit one of the London museums. I will post about this later in more depth, but I would say The Natural History Museum is the best one. You need a whole day (or two) for this.

6. The galleries! Check some of them, if you are in any way into art. I will post about this too in a separate post, but for sure the Tate britain is probably the best one for a quick visit. If you are into architecture I would say the Hayward Gallery or the Tate Modern. But more later.

OK, so I have to go out now, but I want to write more about this...
I will write about:

and more!!!!....


ZipDudeAh said...

You should do a video series on sightseeing London. It would be pure joy indeed! :)

When I come to London maybe we could hang out. LOL

Meg said...

Heh, where where you bryony when i went to england for vacation! bah. went to buckingham and nearly died from boredom.

well, next time i go, i now know to hit you up for the info.

Watch out. lol

Anonymous said...

Good call on the boat....If you book a flight on the eye you can get a boat on the thames as well. I would advise anyone getting the boat during autum or winter to sit inside rather than on top. Nobody every sits down below and it's nice and toasty warm. The commentator sits down there too so you can ask him questions. Also you get a great view of the houses of parliament and MI5/6 from the eye.

Anonymous said...

You're being a bit harsh on Buck Palace comparing it to French/German castles - it's not really comparing like for like.

Buck palace is a stately home, not a castle.

Anonymous said...

If you do a video tour make sure you do it in good weather - london looks glorious in sunshine.

Nick said...

I'd kinda agree with the buckingham palace thing.

But its still worth a view.

When I popped by last week, some Royal waved out of a horse drawn carriage. If I was touristing, I'd have had a photo orgasm.

You should do "London: A Tourist's Guide". And do it in that (awesome) southern american accent. And fill it with terrible tourist/american cliches. That'd be good viewing!

Anonymous said...

Sounds cool.

Anonymous said...

He did some awesome vids about London sightseeing.

Seeing Buckingham Palace is kinda essential i reckon... yeah it might be boring for some, but like it or not, it's something you should see. Unfortunately, you cannot ignore the Royal family!

The Queen is a massive part of our Heritage, even if she doesn't really do much. If we didn't have a Monarchy we would be a much poorer country. It's a shame, but it's completely true.

Don't know why I'm commenting actually it doesn't really matter either way...

pantouffle said...

I have to agree, as a common tourist I've only been there for half a day, and I didn't even see one significant bit of it.

The tubes is definately your best bet at transportation, there weren't a lot of times I even dared to cross the road with all those bloody cars, taxi's and buses racing around.

I went to the National gallery, which is pretty amazing when you're an art freak like me, but to actually enjoy everything you need weeks and weeks of spending time there.

And then mostly I spend time in and around picadily, which is an expensive but nice neighbourhood with lots of shops. I suppose it's pretty normal there for anyone who lives there, but it still has something unique - especially when you come across the name "Cheers" or "Virgin".

Regular things like "Big Ben", a couple of bridges and similar sight-seeing things around that area seemed pretty much a waste of time, but it's nice to see them for a couple of minutes.

Eventhough I liked London from my limited point view that 1 day I was there, I enjoyed a lot more the rest of the 4 days I spend in and around

Anonymous said...

Big cities are so much fun. I want to go to London sometime.

I actually think the touristy stuff is usually kind of boring, I like to just wander around cities with friends and discover stuff by ourselves.

Amy said...

I agree about Buckingham Palace being boring to look at, but to be honest one of the best days I've had in London was one in which my best friend and I wandered and just got off at a random stop (Leicester Square) and kind of just wandered. We ran into the Admiralty Arch and St. James' Park on a Sunday so the Mall was closed and there was a band in a shell playing big band music. It was sunny and blue... absolutely the most perfect day. You could see Big Ben in the distance, too. And we hit the Palace at the end of the Mall and on a Sunday, when no cars are allowed in, the drive in front of the Palace is just full of people posing in front of the fountain and flowers and it was rather nice. So, if you go, walk there on a Sunday in the summer to get the full effect, I think.

And for people taking the tube, you should tell them about the cheapest method, the Oyster Card.

Anonymous said...

Decorum?!?! I'll agree to change three things, and three things only when, and if, I ever roll to London.

First, I'll get myself a new trench-style raincoat in a "magnolia" color along with a giant umbrella. However, I'm not getting a tweed sports jacket or smoking pipe.

Second, I'll agree to modify the names of my meals to breakfast, dinner, tea time and supper.

Third, I'll agree to incorporate the words "lad", "chap", "bloody" and "rubbish" into my daily vocabulary.

Other than those three things, I can't see changing anything.


NusaCat said...

What, no tours of the very "noble sort of bedroom" in Enfield, where Queen Bryony spent time before she became rich and famous?

Maybe in a few years, eh?