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Posted by
2989 posts

Toni, Thanks for a very interesting article! I do agree with their point numbers 1 & 2; riding the bus is a lot more fun in London than riding the tube. You see a lot more. Also, if you see an interesting shop or cafe out the window of the bus, you can hop off at the next stop and walk back to it. The tube is fast and convenient, however.

9/10--Skip the visit to Piccadilly Circus...I totally agree with that. To first-time visitors to London, I would say, you'll get a glance at Piccadilly Circus from the hop-on-hop-off bus (or a regular city bus) and that's enough.

3/4--Skip afternoon tea...I agree with that. Especially skip it if it's ridiculously expensive. It's just tea and cakes, and you can get that at a neighborhood bakery mid-afternoon, for one-tenth the price. Try The Hummingbird Bakery in Camden. Cup of tea or coffee, one fabulous big cupcake, under ten dollars.

7/8--"Don't think you can see everything in three days...Prioritize the things you most want to see." Good advice for the first-time visitor. I would also add, read your Rick Steves London guide or English/London history before your trip, so you can decide what sights really interest you. Some first-time visitors to London seem to know nothing about what's there, or the history of the city. That's a shame; because they may miss out on something they'd really be interested in, if they only did their homework before going. (And yes, that includes coming here and asking us our advice on what to see.)

Posted by
2989 posts

Emma, you are, of course, right about that. Yes, I knew tea was a tradition and quite elegant, from days gone by. Yes, served with sandwiches and scones, not cupcakes!

However, I was just expressing what a tourist could do instead. Not to mimic afternoon tea, but just as a break from sightseeing. A more casual, cheaper, tea or coffee break, on-the-go.

I have been to several places for tea on different trips to London, but on recent trips, I was just too excited about seeing the sights to stop for tea for two hours or so. That's how I got in the habit of stopping for a quick coffee and cake instead. That's back on my list for next trip.

Emma, I can't resist asking. Where is your favorite place in London for a traditional afternoon tea?

Posted by
2989 posts

Emma, thank you for your recommendations! I will visit those places on my next trip to London. And will be going by Gail's bakery at South Kensington tube also.

Posted by
9929 posts

15/16 - Just a comment about this one. In planning a few days in London the end of August I knew there were some things I wanted to do including seeing a special exhibit on color/pigment at the National Gallery. It was a paid exhibit and it was wonderful! Completely worth the 8£ or so it cost. I do agree that you should not just blindly pay for an exhibit, but if it is something you would enjoy there is no reason not to. As Emma says, it could a stunning once-in-a-lifetime collection.

Posted by
3428 posts

I find the replies interesting. I deliberately didn't include my opinion at first to see what you all would say. I personally LOVE taking the tube. It is fast, and people watching is fun. We always got travel passes and used it a great deal. I agree that passing Piccadilly Circus (either by bus or walking to a destination) is enough. As to tea- we never felt the need to try afternoon (or high) tea. But we do occasionally stop at a bakery for an afternoon treat (hubby especially enjoys the cheese straws we found a couple of times). It was the tip about NOT trying to see it all in just a few days that make me think of posting here. We so often see 'newbies' who want to know how they can see it all in 1 or 2 (or 3 or 4....) days. Of what the 'must sees' are. I've been to London more than 40 times and still have many, many things I haven't done and feel I 'must do' at some point. PRIORITZE!!! I do disagree about not staying in the West End. We enjoy that part of London, and if you look there are more affordable places in most areas. And there is always Rick's advice- assume you WILL GO BACK!!!!! :- )

Posted by
15063 posts

HOw can you not enjoy a good afternoon tea? One of the things I loved about Victoria BC was being able to have a proper afternoon tea. It's a experience, not just a meal. I do agree that there are some very expensive ones and you should choose well, but to skip it? No, no, no.

The Tube - hmmm. The bus can be a lot better because it often gets you closer. The Tube usually means a lot of walking and at least one flight of stairs. In rush hour, it's packed - but it doesn't get stuck in traffic like the buses do. I find it easier to figure out getting places by tube.

I did smile when they recommended Fortnum & Mason to avoid the over-priced teas.

Posted by
1063 posts

Why do we keep seeing afternoon tea referred to as "high tea", I sometimes think that the people that write these articles have never been to the UK.

Posted by
28145 posts

Thanks for posting this Toni, I'm still looking forward to one day meeting you.

But my goodness me, what tripe this page contains.

Unadulterated piffle.

I'm sorry but I think I could shoot great big cannon right through most of these.

Others have already had a goo so I'll just focus on one. 2 hours to get to all other airports beside Heathrow? Rubbish and pretty smelly rubbish, too. I can leave Euston on London Midland and be at Birmingham Airport in less than 2 hours. On Virgin, much less. That's not even using the Great Boondoggle of HS2 which will bankrupt what's left and do absolutely nothing for normal railways.

2 hours to get to Gatwick? What are taking? A tortoise pulled by a goat? Good Grief. Gatwick Express - 30 minutes, every 15. Southern Railway 5 minutes longer, even more frequently.

You'd a thought the editor would have fact checked the story prior to publication. Rubbish.

And meeting somebody at Piccadilly Circus. And using Piccadilly (they didn't say Circus so they must mean the thoroughfare) (presumably at Fortnum and Mason as they like it so much and is SO untouristy (that's why they are staying in Bethnal Green? - or is it to see the memorial at the Tube station?) ) as a kicking off point for a walk through either Chinatown or Soho - you start too far west - is loopy.

grrrrr

Posted by
932 posts

Afternoon tea was a highlight of our trip to London!!! And hungry after an hour??? God, we had tea at 3pm and couldn't eat for the rest of the day! We were SO stuffed. And thanks to this forum, I know how to go to this website: http://www.afternoontea.co.uk to find a good deal for when we go again next month!
Are the outdoor markets going to be open even when it's winter?

Posted by
932 posts

Emma, are there any markets that you would recommend that will be open between Dec 25 to Jan 4? Thanks for the recommendation for tea before the theater!

Posted by
28145 posts

Borough Market (some of the best food in the capital, and great fun just to wander around)
Thursday 25 December – CLOSED (Christmas Day)
Friday 26 December – CLOSED (Boxing Day)
Saturday 27 December, 0800 – 1700
Sunday 28 December - CLOSED
Monday 29 December - CLOSED
Tuesday 30 December, 1000 – 1700
Wednesday 31 December, 1000 – 1500 (early closing)
Thursday 1 January – CLOSED (New Year’s Day)
Normal trading to resume from Friday 2 January 2015.

Portobello Road market
Christmas Opening Times – closed Christmas Day & 26th December, otherwise open as usual.

Posted by
932 posts

Excellent! I'm going to print this info to bring with me. Thanks, guys!

Posted by
2081 posts

Toni,

i saw that and thought some of it was interesting.

to me what MSM does things like that i just take it with a grain of salt. I do like the cool things they show in those slide shows every once in a while and get some travels ideas by viewing them.

happy trails.

Posted by
2989 posts

Amy, Glad you found http://www.afternoontea.co.uk to be useful. I was happy to post that when you first inquired about places to go for afternoon tea. It gives a really good comparison of a lot of places to go for tea. And it's arranged by neighborhood if you click on London. Home page also has tabs to click on for Yorkshire, East Midlands, West Midlands, etc. so you can search all of England. It also has tabs for Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.

Posted by
2664 posts

Emma, thank you so much for telling everyone that it's not called high tea, that it's Afternoon Tea. It drives me crazy when people say that they want to have high tea. I had a lovely Afternoon Tea at The Orangery in October.