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travel tip newsletter

Facebook Conversation About London Sparks 50 Practical Tips

Edited by Evelyn Hannon

Stop for a minute, close your eyes and picture a room full of women who love to travel. The facilitator poses a question. She asks ...

'I'm looking for 25 helpful tips about London. Where do you stay? Unexpected restaurant finds, shopping spots you'd tell your girlfriends about, cooking lessons, bookstores you love, and ways to save $$ and still have fun. Please share your experiences.'

Immediately, the conversation begins with ideas flying and then some women are adding extra details to what a previous woman has offered.

That's what happened on the Journeywoman Facebook page this month and this article is the result. Many lovely ideas to spark your own thoughts for travel to London.

Instead of 25 tips we got 50 enthusiastic practical pieces of advice. We've added links wherever possible to help each of you follow any leads you like. Some things you might already know and some will be helpful surprises.

P.S. This is the perfect time to remind you to follow and like Journeywoman on Facebook so we can talk to you, too. Here's the link. Click!

Evelyn Hannon, Editor

Talking Dogs - I heart London!

1. black check Go on a free personalised walking tour with a London Greeter. There are six different neighbourhoods of London to choose from. Your Greeter is a local who will enjoy showing you around. We chose Camden and were shown lots of little places that we would not have found on our own. London Greeters are part of the Global Greeters network which is in 45 countries around the world. P.S. Greeters are not like the 'free walking tours' that you see advertised and have to tip the person at the end, Greeters are volunteer locals who just enjoy showing visitors around their city. (Janice C.)

2. black check I love London! On nice days, I suggest walking along the River Thames (good stretch on the south bank from across Westminster through to Southwark. Stop and eat at Borough Market. Also walk the Regents Canal, from Maida Vale through Regents Park to Camden (or some shortened version thereof). I love the parks - Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens, Regents, Holland Park, Battersea. (Meg C.)

3. black check During some months they have food trucks on this side of the river! (Lee L.)

4. black check I would like to recommend Rhodes Avenue Homestay. This is a perfect B∓B located in Muswell Hill in north London, which has excellent transport links to central London. Elli & Haya are the most gracious and friendly hosts. My room was spacious, the bed was very comfortable and the bathroom was spotlessly clean. And the breakfast...well...the breakfast is quite amazing!! There was such a great variety of food and beautifully presented. There are several reports on Tripadvisor and everyone is excellent! Their website is: www.rhodesavenue.com (Laya L.)

5. black check A must is to visit Harrods, the posh department store in London - the Italian restaurant there is great. As is their Chocolate bar for an afternoon treat. Check out the spa for a mani or pedi or frankly even a massage. Very welcomed after a long flight regardless of class of service you flew in. They are friendly, and if is mid week typically there is no problem for a last minute booking. Prices are about the same as here in US. P.S. This is the spot to buy a Harrod's shopping bag for someone back home who loves to shop. (Amy L)

6. black check Wander round Camden Lock markets, ride down the canal on the Jenny Wren, eat fish and chips in the market. People watch. (Maggie G)

7. black check I must add that we found Londoners very friendly and helpful. When I asked for directions I have never had a hurried answer or brush off. People are happy to help. On the crowded Tube people always got up to offer a seat to hubby walking with a cane. Unlike a certain French city which shall remain nameless... (Roseanne J)

8. black check For travel in London, all trains (tube & rail) and buses will take any credit/debit card with a chip (we call it contactless in the UK). Fares are capped at the daily rate for the zone you travel in. No need to get an Oyster card. On the buses, you can transfer within an hour of first boarding for the one fare. Best way to see London is from the top deck of a red bus! Simply tap your card at the reader when you board. (Janet O.)

9. black check For opera fans, Sarastro restaurant in Drury Lane (a short stroll from Covent Garden) often have performances by well known opera artists on Sunday nights. The decor is also quite amazing - Opera boxes and gold drapes adorn this flamboyant restaurant serving Turkish mezes and mains. (Janet O.)

10. black check The Churchill Arms in Kensington Church Street (nearest tube Notting Hill or South Kensington) is a quaint and quirky pub (run by an Irishman, so Guiness on tap), but with a great Thai restaurant out the back - it pays to book. P.S. They always have unusual colorful flower displays for you to admire (Janet O.)

11. black check Many of the museums (V&A in South Kensington, London Transport Museum (in Covent Garden) have evening events for grown ups - often on Fridays and lots of fun, even if you're travelling solo. Take a tube (or rail) to one of the outer 'villages' - Wimbledon, Barnes, Richmond (& Windsor) and stroll the streets, stop in local cafés for a brew and rummage in the many charity shops for a cheap find. Kings Road (start at Sloane Square Tube) has some good shopping if you like your brands (divert to Dukes Square for some high street brands and nice restaurants). Also, check out the Secret London Facebook page for events that only locals know about. (Janet O.)

12. black check I like to go to NottingHill and buy produce on Portobello Road. (Christiane M.)

13. black check I love "underground" London! Look for Roman ruins underneath modern buildings - like the coliseum under Guildhall, and the Mithraeum Temple under the Bloomberg building. It's really cool to walk down into history, literally! (Amy M.)

14. black check Daunt Books have several branches around London but the store in Marylebone High Street is my favorite. The original part is Edwardian and houses the best (and probably) the biggest travel section I've seen. If you love bookshops and travel you'll be in heaven! (Karen S.)

Talking Dogs - I have a good tip

15. black check Everything about London is fabulous - my favorite city in the world! (Diane R.)

16. black check Ah, London, a favourite place of mine! Another vote for a great bookstore. I, too, recommend Daunt Books, especially the Marylebone location, which specializes in travel-related books. Once inside look up for their balconies and lovely stained glass windows. (Laura C.)

17. black check For veg'n eating, see Happycow.net, of course, but a few personal recommendations for excellent places to eat are: Young Vegans for best savory pies, and Club Mexicana in Camden Market, Tibits (pay-by-weight buffet, Tuesdays are all vegan, other days are about 80% vegan, two locations), Temple of Seitan (two locations), Arancini Brothers (three locations), Ms. Cupcake (Brixton), Black Cat Café, Gallery Café, Cookies and Scream (Camden Market), The Gate (three locations), Brighton-based Purezza is opening in Camden in March...and on Saturdays there's fabulous Hackney Downs Vegan Market. (Laura C.)

Lots more tips to include on your trip to London

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