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London Help! :). Birthday Trip

Herradura, Costa...
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319 posts
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London Help! :). Birthday Trip

My husband and I are travelling to London in late May for my annual birthday vacation. We have travelled abroad a lot, but never to Europe. We are really excited.

But clueless.

I would love suggestions on everything, please! Hotels, area to stay in, places to eat, places to see, etc.

My husband and I are 31, and 38 years old. I love photography and want to capture the beauty of London with my camera.......My husband loves history. We are very adventurous and spontaneous (thus having nothing planned yet and only a plane ticket booked, LOL).

In my limited research thus far, I have been leaning towards Notting Hill, but that is about it. I am open to whatever.

Any experts, please help! :).

Thanks in advance.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: London Help! :). Birthday Trip

An annual birthday vacation - now that's what I call a bang-up way to celebrate each year! Nice one.

You've booked flights; with what airline and to which London airport? Have you got your dates available? The last week of May has both a Bank Holiday Monday on 25 May and half term that week for a great many schools, so there may be increased numbers of visitors to London. You'll need to book hotels sooner rather than later.

You may wish to have a look at a good guidebook - the Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Guide is a good choice - to see what appeals to you in London. There is much to see and do (and photograph) but your wish list may be different from others'.

With respect to hotels, you may wish to stay a bit more central than Notting Hill Gate, especially for a first visit. Have you a budget in mind for hotels?

Have a look at www.daysoutguide.co.uk - with Travelcards purchased at rail stations you'll be able to use the offers available, which may be of interest.

Alexandria, Virginia
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2. Re: London Help! :). Birthday Trip

Hello - Between the interest in photography and the interest in history, you should both have a wonderful time! TP is absolutely correct with her suggestions. You might want to look/check out some travel guidebooks from your local library to see what you like and then purchase a copy of the type you like best (or, since you've traveled elsewhere, you may already have a brand of travel guide you already like - just pick one up for London). Someone else on TA also recommended to me renting from the library (or a service such as Netflix) DVDs on London as well. If history is a major interest, then the Tower of London and the London Museum should probably be on your must-see list. There is so much to see and do that you may not be able to get it all in this visit. Even if you come up with a packed itinerary, you may want to keep in mind that you may like some place so much that you will want to linger, in which case, you will have even less time for other venues (all the more reason to come back again!). Since it is the 500th anniversary of King Henry VIII's ascension to the throne, there are a lot of events going on around London and all of the UK this year. I will also be in London in late May and am looking forward to going to the exhibit at the British Library.

One thing I like to do when photographing in London is to also use my "Black and White" and "Sepia" settings on my camera. If you are into photography, I would assume (if you are using a digital camera) that you have those settings on your camera as well.

As far as lodging, it really does depend on your budget. There are so many places to stay in London. You should look for some place that is near a Tube station, particularly one with access to multiple lines. You may also want to consider staying at a Bed and Breakfast. You probably already know that you can find a great deal of information and reviews on TA. And as far as restaurants go, you will certainly find just about any food you may want to eat. You can search here and there will surely be recommendations in any updated guidebook that you get.

Good luck and enjoy your trip planning - that is one of the most fun aspects for me!

Herradura, Costa...
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3. Re: London Help! :). Birthday Trip

When you say "more central then Notting Hill", what areas would you recommend? I am open to anything. I don't really have a set budget on hotel. I ate "snobby" places though and would prefer something nice, but with down to earth staff and a non-uppity atmosphere. My husband HATES bed and breakfasts and smaller places, so I would want a mid to large size hotel. He does not like the hotel staff knowing who he is, etc., LOL. Don't ask me why, he is just odd.....

Oh, we are flying NWA into LHR from DTW (Detroit). 5/20-5/26.

My Aunt is also telling us a trip to Stonehedge/Bath is necessary, but we will only be there 5 days, so I dont know if we should even try to saunter out of the area.

Anyway, thanks for the advice. I already bought one travel book, and as soon as I get a free second, I will look at more stuff.

Watford
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4. Re: London Help! :). Birthday Trip

These two TA pages will be very helpful with regard to neighbourhoods -

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g186338-c50605/London…

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g186338-s204/London:U…

I do think you have to decide on a budget and then go from there. However the fact that you would prefer a full service chain hotel makes me wonder if going down the Priceline or Hotwire route might snag you a bargain. If you haven't used Priceline before then do please use sites such betterbidding to make sure you get the best advice.

http://www.betterbidding.com/

I'll also throw in one other hotel that may suit judging by what you write. The Sanctuary House in Westminster is in a great location for first timers, is situated over a pub for that end of day relaxing pint and is an easy journey on the tube with just one change of line from Heathrow.

http://www.fullershotels.com/rte.asp?id=14

As for Stonehenge/Bath then if you do decide on a trip then that would be as good as any but for a first visit you may find (no, make that will find!) there will be more than enough in London to keep you busy,

5. Re: London Help! :). Birthday Trip

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