Friday, 11 January 2013
Visiting London: a few tips for Jean-Pierre et Madame
Some of the centre of London from the Shard to the Gherkin
From the South Bank towards St Paul's Cathedral
Recently I had this message from Jean-Pierre, a vigneron in the Loire asking for some advice on visiting London – where to stay, what to see, where to eat etc. Here are my suggestions. Any other suggestions will be very gratefully received.
Je te contact pour un petit renseignement, j' envisage de faire un week end à Londres avec ma femme, nous n'y sommes jamais allé, nous envisageons d' y aller en euro star, par contre as tu une adresse d' hôtel ou chambre d' hôtes pour loger à Londres et pas trop chère car on m' a dit que s' était compliqué de trouver à Londres, et puis si tu as le temps que faut il aller voir à Londres en 2 ou 3 jours en priorité, on aime bien les musées d' art classique voire très moderne et les monuments historiques.
Et peut être un ou deux resto ou l' on mange bien sans se ruiner, merci d' avance, ça ne presse pas c' est pour février, très cordialement Jean-Pierre'
Many thanks for your message. To give you a chance to practise your English I'm not going to reply in French.
I can certainly suggest some restaurants and places to visit. As for hotels that is a little more difficult because living in London I have no need to stay in an hotel. However, I know Loire producers who have stayed at Days Hotel near Waterloo. Prices seem reasonable for London and the location is reasonably central – just a few minutes walk from Tube (Underground/metro) station and also close to Waterloo Station. Details here. This hotel is, however, some way from St Pancras where the Eurostar now arrives. If you do a google search using 'Hotels near St Pancras' you will get be able to find a lot of hotels near to the station at a range of prices.
One very good way to start to get to know London is to take one of the bus tours. Details of one here. The bus will take you past many of the main tourist sites in London. You can buy a ticket for 24 hours and this allows you to get on and off as many times as you like.
For travelling around London you will need a pay as you go Oyster card. This is a smart card and you buy credits in advance. You can buy a visitor oyster card on line and have it delivered to France or you can buy them when you arrive at the Underground station at St Pancras. An Oyster card is the cheapest way to pay for transport around London. Buying single tickets is very expensive as are taxis (black cabs).
Some art galleries to see includes the Tate Modern (see above), the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square, National Portrait Gallery, Royal Academy of Arts and Tate Britain.
Part of the Tower of London
More to add – restaurants etc – in a separate post tomorrow.