where I’ve been; where I’ll be

I was offline for a bit (sort of) because my laptop had to go in for repair, leaving me mostly functioning off a tablet for the duration of its absence. Not conducive to blogging, nor to anything much resembling productivity. πŸ˜›

But! There are interesting things afoot, and I would like help from you all, dear readers, in prepping for them.

To whit, the [profile] kniedzw and I are going to England. (Mostly to London, though we’ll be attending a friend’s wedding in Oxfordshire, and I’ll be winding up in Brighton at the end for World Fantasy. Also, we’re probably going to pop over to Paris for a bit to see his old roommate.) We’ll be there from October 11th through the end of the month . . .

. . . and I have no idea where we should stay.

“But [personal profile] swan_tower,” you say, “haven’t you stayed in London, like, a bazillion times?” Why yes, yes I have — for values of “a bazillion” that equal half a dozen or so, that is. But the first of those, I stayed with a friend’s sister, and the last four, I stayed in the cheapest hostel possible, neither of which are really what we’re looking for in this case. (The remaining time — or possibly two — I have no memory at all of where I stayed.) I honestly don’t even know what neighborhood we should aim for. We’re there for sightseeing, not research, so I don’t need to be smack dab in the middle of the City. In fact, I’d prefer not to be, since you can’t get food there after 6 p.m. πŸ˜›

Where should we look at? Our price range is flexible; we’re not looking for luxury, but we want better than a backpacker hostel. Convenience to a Tube station is key, though probably not hard to get. Moderately central location preferable, i.e. maybe we could save a bundle by staying somewhere out in Richmond but it isn’t worth trekking back and forth.

Recommendations? And feel free to propose nifty things to see in London that I haven’t already done.

This entry was also posted at http://swan-tower.dreamwidth.org/597064.html. Comment here or there.

11 Responses to “where I’ve been; where I’ll be”

  1. Marie Brennan

    I was thinking of you, yeah! I didn’t know whether you were in Paris or elsewhere, nor how busy the snakelet would be keeping you. πŸ™‚ But if you can spare the time, I would love to get together.

  2. xahra99

    I don’t have any recs for places to stay, as we always drive in, but I do have few cool london places. This is going to be heavily museum orientated. I hope you don’t mind. (Re-reading, it’s pretty obvious that I work in medicine. Still cool though.)

    I don’t know if you’ve been to the Soane Museum (http://www.soane.org/)at Lincoln Inn’s fields? If you happen to be visiting on the first Tuesday of each month, they do free candlelight tours. Sir John Soane is one of those wonderful polymath people who seem to be interested in EVERYTHING. There’s a sculpture gallery with a sarcophagus they had to knock down the wall to install. Must-see.

    The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret, and eighteenth century operating theatre bricked up in the roof of a church. Near London Bridge tube station. Avoid schoolchildren: last time I was there I got mistaken for part of a school group. (I’m 31, but 4’11)

    The medical section of the Science Museum, in the rafters right at the top. Worth a look if you’re visiting: they have a chastity belt, and shrunken heads.Probably wouldn’t go just for that.

    The Foundling Museum near the British Museum near Russell Square. Has a gallery of the items mothers used to leave with children in the hope they could reclaim them later, and a list of incredibly unimaginative foundling names.

    Highgate Cemetery.A way away from everywhere, but the guided tours are pretty cool. Some of the graves are fantastic-an egyptian avenue, a full size lion, weeping angels.Worth a trip and then you can visit Camden Market for lunch and walk along the canals and past the zoo.

    The Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons. They have a lunchtime lecture on spotting mermaids if you happen to be here in September. Lots of things in jars. If you don’t like things in jars, don’t go. If you like things in jars, the the behind-the-scenes tour at the Natural History museum has more things in jars (fish, plants, a whole dolphin) as well as some of Charles Darwin’s original samples.

    And if you happen to be passing University College, London on Gower St, pop in and see the ‘auto-icon’ (stuffed body) of Jeremy Bentham in the foyer. They removed the head after students used it for football practice.

    Have fun!

  3. Anonymous

    I would recommend the Premiere Inn at King’s Cross. I know it’s not exactly quirky or glamorous, but locations don’t get much more central than that – it’s a three minute walk to the train station and St Pancras. This particular hotel has been recently refurbished, too. They do an amazing breakfast, their rooms are scrupulously clean and quite spacious, and their rates are pretty reasonable. I stay there whenever I can afford it.

  4. chomiji

    Haven’t been to London for about 8 years, but I remember that the last time we stayed here, and it worked out quite well. You can see more recent reviews over at Tripadvisor.

  5. mindstalk

    Airbnb. Lots of good places, generally for much cheaper than hotels unless the market has adjusted since 2010. (But I’d think the fact that you’re not paying for daily housecleaning and other services should matter. Along those lines: “residential hotel”, “extended stay hotel” as other things to look at, on the grounds that conventional hotel services are great for very short stays but a bad fit for long ones.)

    • Anonymous

      Some Oddball Advice

      (1) Stay out of the west-northwest part of London on the 11th and 15th, due to home World Cup qualifiers at Wembley (and associated silliness). Unfortunately, if you’re flying in to Heathrow on the 11th, that’s going to mean some extra insanity.

      (2) Consider a B&B for your stay, too, especially if you’re staying inside the M25 but not in/around the City. For obvious reasons, it’s really difficult to recommend one in particular… but the B&B helps solve the “Brits don’t eat breakfast in restaurants” problem, it’s almost always more convenient to the Tube and/or bus than medium-and-larger hotels, and the proprietors always know the local restaurant scene (including which takeaways operate up to midnight). Plus there’s the charm of English plumbing to all to see…

    • carbonel

      Synchronicity abounds. Two days ago, I’d never heard of AirBnB, and yesterday I made my first reservation with them (for someone else, not me).

  6. eve_prime

    My s.o. stayed at β€œBest Western The Delmere,” which was one of a row of houses that have been converted to hotels. It was a short walk from Paddington Station and just north of Hyde Park. From there he walked to the Natural History Museum, Baker St., etc., and he was reasonably comfortable there.

  7. chinders

    When I was in London I stayed at the Kingsley by Thistle. Relatively upscale (read: a bit pricey), but central and in a nice area.

    Have a lovely time!

  8. klwilliams

    My favorite place to stay was always in a B&B near the British Museum, because I would always go there when I went to London. There are Tube stops nearby, and the rail station for parts north nearby, too. Now Chaz and I stay with friends, so my information isn’t up to date.

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