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I have lived in London all my life and have grown up loving this city. So I thought, for those who have not yet been I would share my thoughts on the sites to see in MY city!!
Shopping. There are so many places in London to go shopping!! If you want to go to huge size High Street shops then your best bet is Oxford Street. To get here just get off at Oxford Circus tube station. Opposite the tube station, is the HUGE Topshop, which is the largest fashion store in the world. It also conveniently has a café for any mums who are accompanying teenage daughters. Also there are all the large department stores, such as Debenhams, John Lewis. Down the Bond Street end of Oxford street there is Selfridges, a massive department store which is really worth checking out. There is also the Marble Arch Marks and Spencer’s Flagship store down this end.
Knightsbridge is a lovely (and expensive) place to go. There are many designer boutiques down this way. Also there is Harvey Nichols. For those who don’t know what Harvey Nichols is, it is a very trendy, very expensive department store. It is lovely looking around though, and there is an ultra modern (and ultra pricey) café on the top floor where you can sit and watch the world go by.
Harrods is also another department store in Knightsbridge and is probably one of the most famous department stores in the UK. Harrods first opened in 1849 as, believe it or not, a greengrocers! It is one of the most truly splendid looking department stores in the world. Also be aware that they do not tolerate people who look “scruffy” in the store, ripped jeans etc. are definitely a no. I must say, there are no bargains to be found here, but it is amazing to just look round. If you are determined to walk away with that precious green and gold Harrods bag, then I’d say
the cheapest items are in the food hall.
Museums The Science Museum has become one of the coolest museums in London to visit. The exhibitions have been created to ensure that they will capture the interest of all generations. It is open from 10am to 6pm and is in Exhibition Road which is near South Kensington tube. The exhibitions on this summer are: The Human Body, Climate Change and Art with the brain in mind. You can get a family day pass (for 2adults and 2 children) for £29.95 which includes a free guidebook and entry to the 3D IMAX cinema and all special exhibitions.
The National Gallery contains paintings from all through the ages, and if you are an art fan it is certainly worth a visit. It is located in Orange St, and the nearest tube is Leicester Square. There is no admission fee for the permanent exhibitions.
The Natural History Museum is also one of the popular ones. It is also free admission, but there is an entry fee of £5 to get into the special exhibitions. There are many things to see here, such as dinosaur skeletons and human biology exhibitions. The dinosaur exhibition is the most child friendly part of the museum. I definitely would say that the Science museum is better for children, but it is worth seeing this one, entry is free, so if the kids begin to moan, you can always leave.
Madame Taussauds is a must for families. It contains hundreds of waxworks of famous people and is definitely one of the more entertaining museums in London. Many of the waxworks are so lifelike that it is frightening. There are different exhibitions such as You have to take a camera with you to this museum as it provides plenty of photo opportunities. You can have a picture take with you favourite movie star for example! It costs about £16 per adult, but it does depend on what day and time of the year you go. While you are there ensure you visit the Planetarium, it is amazing watching the show of the stars although it will hurt your neck. This is one of the premier London attractions, so be warned, there will be queues. It is worth the wait.
Big Ben Definitely one of the most famous landmarks in Britain and provides a brilliant photo opportunity. You can also visit the Houses of parliament too, although there is not a lot to see there, in my opinion. To get there just get off at the Westminster stop on the Jubilee line.
The London eye Since opening shortly after the millennium, this attraction has become one of London’s most famous sights. Conveniently located near London Waterloo Station, you can see all of London from a pod on the wheel. It is advisable to book a “journey” on the Millennium Wheel/London Eye and it will probably cost about £10 for an adult during the summer and the wheel is open between 9.30am and 10pm. The views are breathtaking and should be definite part of any sight-seeing list
St. Paul’s Cathedral The modern St. Paul’s Cathedral was built in 1710 by Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London of 1666 burnt the old one down. There is no admission fee to the Church although there are pots for you to make a donation. It is located in the heart of the city and can be reached by St. Paul’s Underground station. It is truly an amazing place to look at and inside there is an eerie calm atmosphere. However do not eat your lunch on the steps or you will be attacked by feisty pigeons!
The Tower of London The Tower of London used to be a famous prison, especially during the Tudor and Stuart periods, where all the serious criminals were sent for crimes such as treason. Mary Queen of Scots, Sir Walter Raleigh, Guido “Guy” Fawkes and Anne Boleyn are a selection of historical figures who have been imprisoned and/or executed in “The Tower”. The modern day tower is where the Crown Jewels are kept. The Crown Jewels have been kept there since 1660 and only one man, Thomas Bond, has ever managed to steal them. There is an impressive display there and it is definitely worth a visit. Unfortunately I’m not sure if it costs anything to get in, sorry :-(
Other Sites Places you have to visit are Trafalgar square if only just to see Nelsons Column and sit and eat lunch. Leicester Square, this is where all the nightlife revolves around. There are plenty of restaurants, clubs, pubs and bars around this square which comes alive when it gets dark. However, be warned it can be very expensive to go out here. Piccadilly Circus is another place you have to visit, to see the neon advertising board. There is also the Trocadero in Piccadilly Circus which is like an indoor theme park full of arcade games and so forth. Inside the Trocadero is the Pepsi Max Drop, which takes you up to the top of the building, and promptly drops you. Not a nice thing to do if you have just eaten.
Travelling The tube is the easiest way to travel. It's very frequent, but I wouldn't use it at night. You can get an all day travelcard after 9.30 for about £4. This allows you to use the bus, Underground, trains, DLR (Docklands Light Railway). Taxis are everywhere in London but they cost a fortune. There is always a bus or a tube station so there is really no need for a cab. The trains are often delayed, but the tube and buses are so frequent it does not make a difference.
I’m sure there are plenty of other places that I could write about, but this is already a novel of a review!! Just be aware, when you are in London, like any other city, there are pickpockets especially on the Tube, so WATCH YOUR BAG!!
Thanks for reading this mammoth review! Louisa 10/7/02