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Lived in London in 2007- What's New Today?

Super excited to be planning a trip in early December to London. My sister currently lives there (so I'll be staying with her), and I've always dreamed of visiting at Christmastime. I studied abroad in London from January to June in 2007 (at Queen Mary), and spent the 5 months there seeing as many sites as possible. I'm most curious about what is new/different from that time period. I've read some guidebooks to find what I don't remember or somehow missed (I'll have to try to see the Houses of Parliament on this trip!), but I was wondering what new sites have come out in the last decade that folks would recommend.

I'm not the best art person (although I've always had a special place in my heart for the Tate Modern, after going down their slides and riding their carousel during special exhibits), but I love history, museums, and theater (I'm working on my Cursed Child tickets now...). Thanks!

Posted by
27447 posts

One change is that the Churchill War Rooms are now monumentally popular, so if you want to see them or see them again, you should buy your ticket ahead of time to avoid a most unpleasant line. On the other hand, on the day I visited in September last year the Imperial War Museum was a walk-right-in sort of place.

Some of the large museums (including the V&A) are open late one night a week. I don't know whether that's new, but it's handy. However, in at least some cases only part of the museum is open past the usual closing hours (sometimes just the ground floor). You should inquire at the information desk upon arrival so you know how to organize your visit.

I bet London Walks has some new itineraries.

Posted by
6113 posts

The most popular sites have been around longer than a decade. The Sky garden is new. Some buildings will have been redeveloped, but much will be the same.

Posted by
1319 posts

Westminster Abbey has a late opening one night a week (check which one during your stay - not sure if it changes because of Christmas services). It's worth going late as fewer people go then and its is hugely atmospheric when it's dark outside.

The evening meal at the restaurant (The Cloisters?) was good too, and excellent value. In our opinion 'ecclesiastical dining' is generally good value when compared to other London restaurants.

Posted by
8885 posts

The Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.

Do you ice skate? A number rinks set up to enjoy.

See a Christmas Panto.

Scaffolding all around Elizabeth’s Tower and Big Ben is silent.

There will be SANTA Runs.

Check to see when the Covent Garden Pudding Race is scheduled.

Bourough Market has become incredibly popular.

There are igloos along the Thames that you might be able to reserve. Research Coopa Club igloos.

My two favorite websites to seek new events, galleries, restaurants, etc are Time Out London and Londontopia.net

Posted by
106 posts

I enjoyed going to the London Mithraeum.
London Mithraeum It won't take long - unless you're like me, and can spend the day in one museum, but I thought it was very well put together. It opened last year, and it's free. You just have to book ahead.

Posted by
521 posts

Jodi- Thanks so much for mentioning the London Mithraeum!! My mom and I are visiting London in a few weeks and we are big fans of Roman ruins. I didn’t even know this existed until I read your post! And it’s free! I made reservations and I’m really excited! Thanks again!

Posted by
12 posts

It looks like a couple of museums have gotten some major renovations. The London Transport Museum was under renovation while I was last there, so I'll want to visit that. And the Churchill War Rooms have also been updated? I think?

Posted by
12 posts

I'll also add that there were no royal babies (let alone Royal weddings) when I was here last. So much has changed! Yet, of course, London is the fabulous place I've always loved.

Posted by
11294 posts

One thing I'm finding is that a lot of sights now have discounts for advance online booking. In my non-comprehensive research, I found:

Churchill War Rooms £18.90 online /£21 in person
St. Paul's Cathedral £16 online /£18 in person
Royal Observatory Greenwich & Cutty Sark £19 online /£24.25 in person
Westminster Abbey £20 online /£22 in person
Tower of London £22.70 online /£26.80 in person
London Transport Museum £16 online /£17.50 in person
Kew Gardens £16 online /£17 in person

Posted by
106 posts

Kristin: You're welcome. Hope you enjoy it. If you don't - the price was right!

Emma: Just to give a different view, I was also really excited to visit the Mithraeum and was actually quite disappointed by it. ...... I probably also have a biased view as I was brought up in a roman town so a few roman stones don't cause me that much excitement anymore:-)

Lucky you to be surrounded by so much history. Nothing in Seattle older than the late 1800's. Is it no wonder we get excited?

BTW Emma: I've enjoyed, and been tucking away bits and pieces of your advice for my trip at the end of October.

Posted by
422 posts

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries at Westminster Abbey open earlier this year.

Posted by
106 posts

What I did like was the new fountain near it. It's not really a fountain, it's been designed to look like the pond that would have been there originally during roman times. Quite atmospheric on a quiet Sunday morning when I was there and nicely done.

Emma: That sound lovely. Thanks for the recommendation. If I'm in the area I'll have to take a look for that. I'd say I'm not sure how I missed it before, but I found out when I got back that I'd been traveling nearly two weeks with a non-displaced radial fracture so I may have missed some details along the way. (It hurt, yeah, but I didn't think it was that bad).

Note to jdlazo86 sorry for hijacking the thread. I did just think of something if it's up your alley. There is supposed to be a Sherlock themed escape room opening in October. The producers and cast are involved so it's not a fly by night operation.

Posted by
12 posts

Please don't have any hijacking worries! I love every bit of information I can read. And that escape rooms sounds amazing! I'm a big fan.

Posted by
617 posts

In 2017 the Charterhouse opened for tours for the first time since 1348. I enjoyed the guided tour and small museum:
http://www.thecharterhouse.org/visit-us/

You’ll just miss Billingsgate Roman Baths, open on Saturdays until November, but maybe for another trip. The Charterhouse guide told me about it but I’ve yet to see it:
https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/visit-the-city/attractions/Pages/Roman-Bathhouse.aspx

Also, the new (free) observation deck at Tate Modern:
https://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern/viewing-level

Posted by
1175 posts

Be sure and check the Christmas offerings at the Royal Albert. We attended two last Christmas and both were spectacular. We also booked a Christmas spectacular at St.-Martin-in-the-Fields, adjacent to Trafalgar Square. Of course there's the marvelous lighted Christmas tree with carolers nightly in Trafalgar Square, a gift from the Norwegians to the Brits for freeing them in World War II. We took in the Christmas markets at Southbank and also visited the Clink Museum, a medieval prison facsimile. Hence the name for someone going to the clink/jail. It's kinda sketchy but they have a website. We also booked a dinner at the cafe in the National Portrait Gallery, which was superb and priced right.