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Trip List by tumblingweed

10 day London trip by solo female

8 Jun 2006  American nurse on first overseas trip
4.5 of 5 bubbles based on 34 votes

What a great time! It can be a challenge to find things to do in the evening when travelling on your own...not a problem in London!

  • 1. Arrival

    Was in London from 27th Apr to 7th May 2006. Only saw a few raindrops in entire stay, even got a bit sunburned one day!
    On 27th arrived from Amsterdam to LHR at about 2 PM.Tubed to Bayswater, 5 minute walk to lodgings (Duke of Leinster Hotel, see TripAdvisor reviews) and checked in. What a relief it was to be able to easily find my way around after the twisty streets and the canals of Bruges and Amsterdam! Still used map and compass, compass also nice to find directions inside of buildings.

  • 2. Museum of London
    Museum of London, London, England

    That afternoon I went to the Museum of London because someone on TripAdvisor had recommended it as a nice first stop in London, and it was - spent about 3 hours there! Provided a good overview of the city's history. Then back to Bayswater for a bite to eat and walk around the neighborhood.

  • 3. British Museum
    British Museum, London, England

    On 28th spent all day (almost 12 hours!) at the British Museum. Still didn't see everything, just endlessly fascinating. Had a prebooked timed ticket for the Michelangelo exhibit there that evening which was interesting with an audio guide, (albeit crowded). Then walked a few blocks over to the Lamb Pub for TALF meet, altho too tired to meet everyone, enjoyed talking with some fellow tourists and relaxing with a drink.

  • 4. National Gallery
    National Gallery, London, England

    On 29th spent about 5 hours in the National Gallery. Liked the way it's split into different eras, excellent comprehensive audio guide. Being fully saturated with art, walked about a bit; over to Big Ben, etc. Back at Trafalgar Square there was a rock concert going on, good people watching.

  • 5. St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church
    St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, England

    Had dinner at St. Martin's Crypt, very good. Shared a table with a couple of nice ladies, one a teacher from France who I had a very good visit with, exchanged email addresses, she even kissed my cheeks the European way when she finally left! The other was a London girl, a translator for technical writing who eats there from time to time. Gave me a bit of an insight on what it might be like to live in London. The church was lovely in candlelight for the evening concert, Vivaldi's Four Seasons, small string ensemble with a harpsichord (!). Truly enjoyed it.

  • 6. Greenwich
    Greenwich, London, England

    On the 30th had planned to go to Greenwich and decided to go with London Walks. Despite the microphone I had trouble hearing the guide, Anne I think her name was. The commentary by the crew member of the boat there was outstanding tho. Ended up skipping out of the walk a bit early at the Queen's House and went to explore the Maritime Museum, the info re: the slave trade was most interesting. The flea market was going strong, had some good Thai food there for only 3 GBP. Eventually walked back, thru the tunnel under the Thames to a nice little park with gorgeous flowers blooming and views of Royal Navy College. Then DLR and tube to Monument for another walk, but was a bit chilly for me, so skipped it, instead walking about on my own, marveling at how deserted the area was. The monument is quite impressive by the way! So back to hotel by 7:30 or so.

  • 7. Whitstable
    Whitstable, Kent

    On May 1st (May Day!) caught an early train to Whitstable, charming small village, saw some lovely countryside along the way. After arriving at the station a 5 minute walk brought me to the center where I stopped for coffee until the Morris dancers began to come jingling by. There were 4 teams competing, crazy tattered costumes, blackened faces (for chimney sweeps), they danced to pipes and drums, making fancy steps and turns, jingling the bells on their legs, striking their sticks together in rhythm. There was a big brown furry bear with a black face, of course Jack (a bush with a wreath of flowers on top), and the maid was actually a big burly guy, hilarious-pretty cool to see! After watching all that walked over to harbour, COLD wind, but darned if there weren't windsurfers out! Then back to town center where I found a cafe and had my first full English breakfast-delish! Was seated at the window so got to see the dancers and procession parading down the street to their next stop while I was eating.

  • 8. Canterbury
    Canterbury, Kent

    Then caught a bus to nearby Canterbury. The cathedral (1400 years old) was so impressive! Spent a couple hours there, good audio guide that addressed history of Thomas a' Beckett and his martyrdom, fascinating stuff. The crypt was interesting, so ancient. Took off walking, stopping in the occasional park and along the river away from the crowded and touristy center. Ran across Canterbury Castle, interesting ruins. Caught the train and was back in London by about 8 PM.

  • 9. St. Paul's Cathedral
    St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England

    On the 2nd got up early and went to see St. Paul's - not as large as I expected but more beautiful. Another nice audio guide, favorite parts were carved wooden organ cabinets and glass mosaic ceiling. In the whispering gallery you can see where incendiary bombs hit in WWll and the staff put out the fires. Of course great views from the top. The crypt here was very touching.

  • 10. Royal Mews
    Royal Mews, London, England

    Then walked over to the Royal Mews and had a nice little tour of the horses and carriages, including that 8 ton golden wonder! Also got to see a carriage delivering daily mail there, such a contrast to modern London.

  • 11. British Library
    British Library, London, England

    Next stop was the British Library where I felt privileged to see the collection on display there-adjectives fail me. Went across the street for a sandwich supper I ate on the library patio before the demo/concert on a glass armonica. First there was a bit of a talk on the history of the instrument and science of sound, then, accompanied by a string quartet from the London City Orchestra, a fellow played first on water glasses, then an armonica, beautiful sounds. Except for one piece, don't know if the fellow got lost or what, but he hit clinker after clinker. Almost started laughing but I knew if I started wouldn't be able to stop! Anyway back to hotel by 9:30 or so.

  • 12. Victoria and Albert Museum
    V&A - Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England

    On 3rd got up early to wash clothes at a launderette down the road, then back to hotel and had breakfast. Gorgeous day, walked thru Hyde Park headed to the V&A. Saw an old oak tree that was about 7 feet across; loved that the park is naturalized rather than manicured. Then on to the V&A, where I spent over 7 hours wandering amongst a little bit of everything.

  • 13. Natural History Museum
    Natural History Museum, London, England

    On the way I passed by the Natural History Museum which I hadn't intended on visiting, but the building was so intriguing that I couldn't resist. Carved or molded figures of animals along the gate, up walls and archways inside and out. Full of school groups looking at the impressive dinosaur bones; would love to go back when the Darwin exhibit opens.

  • 14. Imperial War Museum
    Imperial War Museum, London, England

    On 4th went to the Imperial War Museum, incredible source of WWl history. Loved the interactive computers, ended up spending over 5 hours there which left little time to see Somerset House as I had planned. So instead walked a bit along the south and north banks of the Thames, stopping for a sandwich, then later dessert. Many pale shirtless/shorted people out enjoying the sun!

  • 15. "The Woman in Black" at the Fortune Theatre

    Then on to the theatre; I can see that it could be a great play, but uncontrolled teen groups cramped its style. Thought the older actor was especially talented.

  • 16. Westminster Abbey
    Westminster Abbey, London, England

    On 5th went to Westminster Abbey-what can I say-sooo much history, hard to take it all in. After a few hours there and lunch walked to the south bank and stopped at the...

  • 17. Florence Nightingale Museum
    Florence Nightingale Museum, London, England

    Interesting perspective on the mishandling of the Crimean War, and some great old photos. Next stopped for a short visit at Tate Britain, but about "arted out." Anyway, back over the bridge for fish & chips in the park near Buckingham Palace, could hear another rock concert in the distance. Witnessed an incident of road rage between a taxi driver and a guy in an expensive looking black car. Almost turned into a fist fight, but the cabby wisely stayed in his cab! In early this evening.

  • 18. Tower of London
    Tower of London, London, England

    On 6th finally went to the Tower of London. Even as cheap as I am, I don't regret one penny of the 25 or so pounds I spent there! The Beefeater tour was fun, altho I also got an audio guide for more historical details. Spent most of the day here touring the buildings, watching period costumed reenactors, stopping at the Fusilierâs Museum for more war history. Just as I was leaving it began to rain, had an umbrella but no coat, so returned to hotel, stopping for a good Italian dinner in the neighborhood (splurge for me at about 14 GBP). Packed my bags for early train to Bath in AM-(yes, almost done with this long post, thank god, huh)!

  • 19. Original London Walks
    London Walks, London, England

    Then on this, my last evening, went on another London Walk near St. Paul's; mildly scary stories, but highly interesting and entertaining, nice group; so glad I went!

  • 20. Departure

    On 7th walked to Paddington for train to Bath. LOVED London, I think 10 days was about right for me, the hordes of people were beginning to get to me, altho the parks certainly helped take the edge off that. I have to say that it was much cheaper than anticipated, plenty of good inexpensive eateries, free museums, and actually would have been comfortable in an even more inexpensive room (I paid 45 GBP/night) considering the amount of time spent in it. And you gotta love the tube! Hope I get to go again someday.