London Vacation

We (Bhavana, Abhishek and I) will be going to London for a vacation in the second week of June. (This is my third visit to London — had gone there once as part of an SOTC package tour in 1981, and then a few years ago with Bhavana.)

I wanted to get inputs on the following:

  • place to stay:  we need a service apartment (with a kitchen) in central London. One reco that has come is Citadines (South Kensington or Trafalgar properties). Budget: 100-150 pounds per night. Should be close to the Tube.
  • restaurants: good Indian restaurants, which will serve Jain food
  • things to see and do: Abhishek is 4 years. So, things will revolve around him. Some recos: Legoland, London Zoo, Hamley’s toy shop, Thomas Land (the train engines place).
  • bookshops – for me!

Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!

235 thoughts on “London Vacation

  1. “Madame Tussauds”. Abhishek might get to learn about some and great and not so great people from world history.

  2. 1.The Swami Narayan temple near Wembley if/when you feel religiously inclined.Info on Jain eateries would also be avaialble there.

    2.London Tower museum – see the Kohinoor and other rare jewels.

    3.Take the Thames boat ride from near Big Ben

    4.Book shops- some excellent second hand bookshops in central London; don’t remember the tube station name, but a basic google search should do.

    5.Tate Gallery of Modern Art

    6.Hide Park for a nice family picnic

    7.Windsor Manor is just a 1-hr train ride away and the entire family can enjoy the day trip

    8.Visit Canary Wharf/Greenwich by taking the Dockland Light Rail- part of the journey will be under water.And Greenwich itself is a good place to visit – the Zero Latitude area, the Cutty Sark, and there is also a large flea market there.

    9.Notting Hill area if you are interested in antiques, curios, etc etc

    For books the best place in whole of UK is a small village called Hay-on-Wye (http://www.hay-on-wye.co.uk/). You have just missed the annual Hay Book Festival, but it is still worth visiting the village as it is the only place (AFAIK) in the world where the entire village is full of used and rare book shops.

    Enjoy the trip !

  3. Rajesh,
    Here is my recommendation (non repeating recommendations give above)
    a) London Eye – Nice 30 minutes ride in a giant wheel and see London from 150m height (consider one day time and one night time ride)
    b) Shopping /strolling at Oxford street
    c) Bus tour (Big Bus / Original Bus) – Nice open top view with recorded guide voice to go around central london
    d) Museums – There are plenty. Many government museums offer free entry (Science, Natural History and Albert victoria museums are in one location – near south kensington)
    e) Try south Indian veg meals – http://www.saravanabhavan.co.uk/
    f) Try oyster (smart cards based) pass for local train/bus travel – hassle free
    g) Change of guard ceremony infront of Buckingham palace
    g) Visit another city/country side in UK by train (wonderful experience) for a day or two break, if your planned stay is for over a week.
    If possible, book local visit tickets online – to save time in queue.

    Bon Voyage

  4. I have stayed in citedines for more than 6 months during my assignment with british telecom. Its very good place to stay as far as location and facilities are concerned. I had good time as I was bachelor with loads of discotheques and pubs around. You are at centre of centre of london. At arms length from subway and cusp of metro, its place to stay in. Have fun!! Enjoy!!

    Also I have stayed in Novotel near King’s cross for around 3 months. Although great hotel with good services and with some Indian cooks, it was more serene and sleepy place in centre of london.

    I will also recommend British library (opposite to Novotel hotel), Royal British museum etc.

    Enjoy your stay in London!!

    You will find many gujarati restaurant in Wembley, Harrow and Harrow on hills which serves jain food. But will be hectic 30 minutes travel from citadines to Wembley.

  5. You can also visit Old Roman town of bath and stonehenge!! Both are pictureseque places. Although I found stonehenge bit boring!!

    There is some gujarati restaurant on ealing street just opposite to sarvannabhavan which serves jain food.

  6. London Eye I am not sure, I ended up wasting half a day (mostly standing in the Queue) but might be easier this time given recession and all that.

    There is one seconds book shop near oxford circus where i picked up some really good business books for 2 pounds and all that, if you locate borders there, it will lead you to a street full of bookshops, this one is right there.

  7. Activities for kids in London are detailed here
    http://www.timeout.com/london/microsites/half_term/
    This site also has excellent guide on tourist locations, what to see, where to eat etc.

    Also you might want to catch The Lion King show and also take your kid to the Science museum and the Natural History Museum. Lots of fun opportunities for kids in there.
    In my opinion places like Madame Tussads and London Eye are overrated – and is definitely not worth the 1-2 hour queue.

    Enjoy!

  8. There are loads of second-hand book stores in the Charing Cross / Leicester Square area. Other than that, you could always goto the big chains like Borders, Waterstones etc.

    As for sight-seeing, my personal favorite used to be the long walk along Thames. The walkway stretches a long distance and it’s especially nice when the lights come on in the evening.

    The museums in London are absolutely fabulous and most are free.

    I would also recommend a day-trip to Cambridge, only 45 mins away from London by train.

    BTW, I will also be there between June 10-17 🙂

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