(PUSH IMAGE TO MAKE LARGER) BUY YOUR OYSTER CARD –FIRST THING TO DO IN LONDON! After the driver has brought you from the airport, and you have settled in, walk to your closest TUBE STATION and by your 7-day zone one TUBE PASS. With the Oyster Card, you travel for a week on the tube and on all the busses. The OYSTER CARD costs about $38.00 US, and is best purchased first thing when in London. THIS IS THE FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS. It is easy, and it gives such freedom. If you are in London for only three days, you can purchase an OYSTER CARD for fewer days than a week. Now, let’s talk about getting around London on the TUBE/THE UNDERGROUND.
THE PICCADILLY LINE is the blue line on the TUBE MAP. THE CIRCLE AND DISTRICT LINES are the yellow and green lines. In this blog, I am going to “take” the PICCADILLY LINE and will talk about each TUBE STOP from the SOUTH KENSINGTON STATION to the HOLBORN STATION. The Piccadilly Line–the Blue Line is one of the three most convenient lines for visitors to London. So, let’s see what sites are near each station. Remember, keep your OYSTER CARD where it is safe because it is your KEY TO LONDON for a week! My father used to say: PUT YOUR VALUABLES IN YOUR FRONT POCKET; IF “THEY” GET THEM THERE, “THEY” DESERVE THEM!
THE SOUTH KENSINGTON STATION is “the Museum stop.” Hop off at South Ken for the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum, The Brompton Oratorio, the Mormon Church, and for numerous restaurants and shops. This is a lively area with many visitors coming to the V&A and the Natural History Museum each day. Our flats at Egerton Gardens and Draycott Avenue are best reached from the South Kensington Tube Station.
THE KNIGHTSBRIDGE STATION is Harrods and all the shopping in this luxury area. THE KNIGHTSBRIDGE STATION has two exits: one is right at Harrods and the main station exits at Harvey Nichol on Sloane Street. LUXURY GOODS everywhere. Beauchamp Place, the Cromwell Road, great restaurants–goodness, credit card shoppers will be in heaven. I like to window shop all around this area and then have lunch at the Cafe Rouge behind Harrods. A walk down Beauchamp Place where Diana Princess of Wales used to shop is great fun. If you are fashionably hungry, stop in for lunch at San Lorenzo’s. I love the pastry and bread department at Harrods for my favorite ALMOND CROISSANT. Our flats on Beaufort Gardens–this is the stop! Let’s keep traveling up the Piccadilly Line.
HYDE PARK CORNER is a small station, but it is the exit for THE HARD ROCK CAFE and your walks through Hyde Park and up Park Lake. Next stop, please!
GREEN PARK STATION is your exit on the Underground for Buckingham Palace and Green Park. The Royal Academy and Fortnum and Mason on Piccadilly are reached from this station. If you are having High Tea at the RITZ, this is your stop. I LOVE TO EXIT AT GREEN PARK TO BEGIN TWO OF MY FAVORITE WALKS: I love wandering through Mayfair to look into the jewelry shops like Garrard’s; emeralds, diamonds, oriental pearls, and fabulous enamels dazzle the eyes. Ralph Lauren has a fabulous shop here–especially at Christmas time. The Burlington Arcade is fabulous; you feel you are right back in Victorian times. THE ROYAL ACADEMY EXHIBITIONS are here–Don’t miss the summer show. My favorite tartan shop is along Piccadilly where cashmore sweaters are always on sale–Hm! Stop in and visit FORTNUM AND MASON where the finest foods are sold and where you will probably spot some famous personality. Fantastic High Tea here. For me, I like to look at the FORTNUM AND MASON windows–I just can’t imagine who puts these windows together. Fabulous! Our flats at Duke of York Street are accessed from Green Park Tube Station. On we go!
PICCADILLY TUBE STATION is a lively spot! You are now in the heart of the Theater District–right up Shaftesbury Avenue. The entire street is one theater after another. One restaurant after another! And mobs of people. Friday and Saturday nights are a sea of people from all over the world, all trying to enjoy this amazing place. I love to walk up Shaftesbury Avenue looking at all the theater posters and people dressed up for a night out–LEVIS TO GOWNS BUT LOTS OF GLITTER since beads are the style. Boy, you know you are London when you are in this area. Our flats on Pall Mall and Cambridge Circus are reached from the Piccadilly Station.
LEICESTER SQUARE STATION is another lively spot! There are several exits, but they are all just different sides of the street. This is CINEMA land with motion pictures all around Leicester Square. There are some good restaurants here and LOTS OF PIZZAS and kebabs. THE NATIONAL GALLERY, TRAFALGAR SQUARE, THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY, ST. MARTIN IN-THE-FIELDS, and THE NATIONAL OPERA are all reached from this station. Our flats on St. Martin’s Lane, Upper St. Martins, Charing Cross are near this tube station. THIS IS A LIVELY PART OF TOWN. And Fun! I love my evenings in a Chinese restaurant in China Town which is only five minutes from this tube station.
COVENT GARDEN TUBE STATION is another theater district exit. The ROYAL OPERA HOUSE is an experience of a lifetime. I saw AIDA here a few years ago have been back many times–all memories which I think about often. Rupert Friend and Keira Knightley and their world whirl around this area, often photographed in their hip clothes and shopping bags. There are several Italian restaurants like BELLA ITALIA, and Spanish restaurants, and Indian restaurants, clubs, wine bars, and pubs, pubs, pubs, and more pubs. The COVENT GARDEN PLAZA is always full of life. When I am wandering, I often find myself having pizza and tonic water and lime on the Plaza watching all the amusing entertainment around me. The stalls of Covent Garden are here. JUBILEE MARKET and my dealer friends are here. If you are going to RULES RESTAURANT for a special meal, this is your tube station. A walk to St. Paul’s Cathedral is wonderful. My family and friends had a fantastic meal in a pub during the Christmas holidays in this area. The CHESHIRE CHEESE is always a fun place. EVERY VISITOR TO LONDON WILL FIND HIMSELF IN THIS AREA MANY TIMES DURING A VISIT TO LONDON. It is a lively place to spend a lot of time. In the evenings, everyone is having a pre-theater meal or an after-theater dinner, and the restaurants are full of happy people. I like being here.
Well from here, you will go on to HOLBORN AND RUSSELL SQUARE where the great attraction is the BRITISH MUSEUM where I spend a great deal of time. I LOVE THE MANY EXHIBITIONS. I never tire of the ELGIN MARBLES and the ROSETTA STONE. But the rooms filled with shelves and shelves of King George III’s books draw me visit after visit.
Well, that is just THE PICCADILLY LINE in a nutshell, but hopefullly, it will give you an idea of how the UNDERGROUND/TUBE works. You are in for the trip of a lifetime. Who in the world could ever be tired of London? ONLY THE DEAD.
I would love to hear about your trips. I enjoy your emails and suggestions. Many of you send me SEARCHING. I love those “hidden” bits of London–don’t you? Where is the only original-to-the period statue of Queen Elizabeth I or where is Ben Jonson really buried? What’s the story about Thomas Hardy’s burial? Lots of fun stuff here.
LET’S GO RIDE THE UNDERGROUND TOGETHER, EH?
Tom 801.791.9918 TMooreSr@me.com