I thought I would respond to requests we receive almost weekly for information to prepare for a trip to London. I appreciate serious visitors who like to learn as much as they can before their flight takes off. I call that level #1 reading. The second level is the actual experience in London. The third level is a reread of the publications you read before you left on your trip. Everyone tells me they read and read, but they don’t retain what they are reading because it doesn’t stick until they have the actual visit in London. So, let me make my recommendations for good information and for a good reading. You have to start somewhere. THE STORY OF BRITAIN is a good place.
Every ANGLOPHILE on the way to London should have a copy of THE STORY OF BRITAIN, A PEOPLE’S HISTORY by Roy Strong. I have used my copy over and over, and the publication is good reading. When your London guide says THIS IS GEORGIAN, THIS IS VICTORIAN, THIS IS EDWARDIAN, you need a basic knowledge to understand what the guide is saying. British history is fascinating; it is also complicated. So, I appreciate Roy Strong’s THE STORY OF BRITAIN because he does a great job presenting a complicated history in a way where beginners feel comfortable. I keep my copy by my bed, read a chapter in the evening, and then I dig more deeply when a subject interests me. For me, this is a fantastic pre-visit read. It is an excellent starting point. You will be addicted, believe me.
I have by my bed a copy of the MICHELIN GUIDE TO LONDON. I take a copy with me on every trip, and I am in London four months a year. I am never without my MICHELIN GUIDE. It gives opening hours, tube stops, and straight facts. If I go to the National Gallery, my GUIDE goes with me to remind me which paintings are in which rooms. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY A MUST HAVE AND A MUST TAKE. (DO NOT BUY THE MICHELIN GUIDE TO BRITAIN–IT WEAKENS THE LONDON INFORMATION)
Walking tours of London are fantastic. LONDON WALKS is on line. The company has a long and successful history. I have known the owner and creator for years– in fact when he was just starting, working on the kitchen table. He has a great team of guides. Study the offerings on line before you go. I love to wander through London, an it is great to have a “walking” guide to start.
TIME OUT MAGAZINE is also on line. The publication will provide the very best source for what is happening RIGHT NOW in London. TIME OUT is a fantastic little publication which can be purchased at each corner magazine shop all over London. But, get familiar with it on line before you go.
I am no fan of London travel publications which have editorialized information when I have THE MICHELIN GUIDE where I get the information “straight.” But, there are those who feel comfortable taking a guide book to follow. I can simply say that all information is good to have. Of all of these London guide books I have seen, I would select DK EYEWITNESS TRAVEL: LONDON. It was voted best guide book by the GUARDIAN and OBSERVER readers. It is updated yearly.
I have Steve’s Guide to London. I was not impressed. I like his movies, but I don’t think his guides are thorough enough or carefully researched. When compared to THE MICHELIN GUIDE, there is absolutely nothing to offer.
Of course, please read my posts on www.blog.londononnection.com and our FACEBOOK where I have tried to publish articles which I find very helpful and fascinating. I try to write my own articles at least every other day. I am in London just wandering about 4 months a year, and I come from a long line of English/London ancestors who gave me the “inside story of London” and traveled with me since I could walk; they were very educated people who knew all levels of London life. They knew London well and saw to it that I knew how to enjoy London: WANDER AND WALK.
I hope this is helpful. You will not be the same person after a in-depth visit to this magnificent British capital: London. It is a city on so many levels. You are starting your journey to dig deep into a history that has no beginning. Fantastic!
Thomas Moore email: TMooreSr@me.com Telephone: 801.791.9918