Trying to Figure Out London!

Related Posts: Planning for London! and Planning for Blake’s London!


Firstly, I just wanted to thank all the awesome bloggers who have given me very helpful advice for this trip!


Note: This post is really just for me to try to jot down and organize all the information/recommendations/advice I’ve received about London so far. AND MORE ADVICE IS MORE THAN WELCOMED!


Here, I’ve narrowed down the Blake historical sites to only the ones I want to see most:

  1. St. James’s Church: (10) Where Blake was baptized. The font still survives.
  2. Westminster Abbey: (10) Where Blake practiced drawing. Monument to Blake in the Abbey’s Poet’s Corner.Will probably end up here on a bus tour!
  3. Royal Academy, New Somerset House: (9) Where Blake studied and occasionally exhibited his work. Original building.
  4. 13 Hercules Buildings: (7) Where Blake produced the Songs of Experience. House demolished in 1918.
  5. 17 South Moulton Street: (10) Will be here on Tuesday!
  6. St. Mary’s, Battersea: (10) Where Blake married Kate. Original building.
  7. Bunhill Fields: (9) Where Blake is buried.


Important: Buy an Oyster card!


Harrods Vintage Bus Tour of London with Champagne Tea at Harrods

Okay, this might be really silly/crazy/touristy, but a tour in a vintage bus plus tea time? That just sounds so ridiculous (in a good way, I think)!

Won’t have time for this on Monday or Tuesday, so will have to do either Wednesday or Thursday.

Location: Starts at Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge.

Time: Starts at 1 p.m, for 5 hours.

Price: £49

Includes: Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, The London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Downing Street, Trafalgar Square, Nelson’s Column, Hyde Park, the Houses of Parliament, The Royal Albert Hall, a cruise on the River Thames, and tea/scones at Harrods. 


Jack the Ripper Tour

Might have time for this on Monday, or otherwise on Wednesday.

Option #1: Every night at 7 p.m. Outside exit 4 of Aldgate East Station. £9. 2 hours.

Option #2Every night at 7 p.m. Outside exit 4 of Aldgate East Station. £9. 2 hours.

Option #3: Every night at 7:30 p.m. Outside exit 3 of Aldgate East Station. £9. 1 hour, 45 minutes.


Tate Britain

At the very top of my list!!!

Tentatively, I think I might go to the Tate and V&A on Tuesday, the bus tour and possibly Jack the Ripper on Wednesday, and then the British Museum and Blake historic sites on Thursday.

Location: Millbank.

Time: Open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Price: Free (except for special exhibitions).

Taking photos not allowed.

  • Need to find out more about the renovated Blake rooms!
  • Need to figure out what else I’d like to see at the Tate!


Victoria and Albert Museum

Location: Cromwell Road.

Time: Open daily 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Price: Free (except for special exhibitions).

May take photos, unless otherwise noted.

  • Ask information desk about the “…four of Blake’s ‘fresco’ paintings on display permanently.”
  • David Bowie is£14.00 (+£1.40 booking fee per ticket). Already bought my ticket!! 😀


British Museum

Location: Great Russell Street.

Time: Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Price: Free.

Photography permitted in most galleries.


National Gallery

Not sure if I’ll have time for this.

Location: Trafalgar Square.

Time: Open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Price: Free.

Taking photos not allowed.


National Portrait Gallery

Not sure if I’ll have time for this. May go if nothing else to do on Thursday evening.

Location: St.Martin’s Place.

Time: Open Sat.-Wed. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thurs.-Fri. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Price: Free (except for special exhibitions).

Taking photos not allowed.


The Princess Louise

A restored Victorian pub. Recommended pint: Timothy Landlord’s.

Location: 208 High Holborn, Holborn. Between Covent Garden and the British Museum.

Time: 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.


Tea and Tattle

“Fresh leaf tea in a pot and bone china, scones with clotted cream and jam, finger sandwiches and tasty cakes… could anything be more British than afternoon tea in London.”

Location: 41 Great Russell Street (opposite the British Museum).

Time: 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.


The London Review Cake Shop

“…the traditional with a twist.”

Location: 14 Bury Place  Bloomsbury (near the British Museum).

Time: 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.


Coach and Horses, Soho

Very shabby, but landmark.

Location: 29 Greek Street, Soho

Time: 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.


French House

Location: 49 Dean Street

Time: 12 to 11 p.m. (Food served until 4 p.m.)


Seven Stars

Something quieter.

Location: 53-54 Carey Street (behind the Royal Courts of Justice, near some of the Blake sites around the Strand/Fleet Street).

Time: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.


The Angel

Something quieter.

Location: 61-62 St Giles High Street (a bit of a no-man’s-land between Covent Garden and Bloomsbury that’s central yet tourist-free).

Time: 12 to 11 p.m.


The Queen’s Arms

Location: 30 Queen’s Gate Mews (near the V&A).

Time: 12 to 11 p.m.


The Sherlock Holmes

Has a very authentic English feel. Fish & chips.

Location: 10-11 Northumberland Street

Time: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.


The Old Shades

Great fish & chips.

Location: 37 Whitehall (Trafalgar Square).

Time: 10/11 a.m. to 11 p.m.


Lighthouse Fish Bar

Fish & chips of mammoth proportions.

Location: 8 Tooting Bec Road (1/2 block from Tooting Bec Tube Station).

Time: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.


Curry/Indian: Any suggestions?


The Gay Hussar

Fabulous Hungarian food and a very interesting past illustrated by the political cartoons on its walls.

Location: 2 Greek Street, Soho.

Time: 12:15 to 2:30 p.m., 5:30 to 10:45 p.m.


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Copyright 2013 by G. E. Gallas


About gegallas

G. E. Gallas is a writer and illustrator best known for her graphic novel The Poet and the Flea about William Blake and her short film Death Is No Bad Friend about Robert Louis Stevenson. Originally from Washington, D. C., she spent her year abroad in Tokyo, Japan and graduated from New York University: Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a major involving cross-cultural storytelling. Last year, she attended the Cannes International Film Festival and spoke upon invitation to The Blake Society, London. This year, her illustrations were featured in Scared Stiff: Everything You Need To Know About 50 Famous Phobias. She is currently working on illustrations for Do More Good. Better. View all posts by gegallas

40 responses to “Trying to Figure Out London!

  • tootonesbored

    …wow, thats even more organised than when I travel… have fun, looking forward to posts on your adventures…

  • daisybellcrafts

    …and I hope you enjoy every moment of it. I love London, and only live about an hours travel away.

    Yes, do remember that Oyster card.

  • Ship's Cook

    The National Portrait Gallery is right next door to the National Gallery so if you visit one you can do both. Look out for the portrait of Lady Colin Campbell the infamous Victorian divorcee, she is stunning.
    An oyster card is essential to get the best fares on buses and tube trains, otherwise you can spend an awful lot of money.just getting around.
    Best time to visit the Coach and Horses is when they have Magic Betty playing the piano, she plays everything from traditional music hall songs like My Old Man Said follow the Van to Purple Rain. It’s about the nearest thing you can get to a traditional English pub.
    If I’m about when you visit I will happily show you some of Soho’s pubs and other sites.

    • gegallas

      AWESOME — thanks for the additional advice and I’d love to get together when I’m there! E-mail me ( and we’ll discuss! 😀 –G. E.

  • ehueston

    HI… I couldn’t help but comment on this. My sister is living in London right now, we went to see her for Christmas and now I am planning a second trip back there. It is a great place and it soundsl like you have a lot planned.

    Don’t miss Jack the Ripper, that tour is a lot of fun. Westminster Abbey doesn’t disappoint, they don’t make anything like that over here. Harrod’s was a lot of fun, I’m looking forward to seeing it not on Christmas Eve, that was a little nuts.

    I only got to go to the National Gallery when we went last time, didn’t want to put my non-art family through anymore art galleries haha. It is a beauty though, lots of different time periods, you get a little bit of everything painted.

    Anyway, just wanted to put in my two cents. I hope you have a great trip, it reads like you are going to be pretty busy 😀

    • gegallas

      Wow, thank you so much for all your advice — truly appreciated!!

      So great that you get to visit your sister. I hope you’ll get a chance to see more museums you 2nd trip. 🙂

      By the way, do you have any recommendation for which Jack the Ripper tour I should take? Or will I be okay with whichever?

      Best regards,

      G. E.

      • ehueston

        GAH! I am the worst… sorry this took so long.

        I know that there are a few Jack the Ripper tours. I unfortunately didn’t write down the name of the company that ran ours. But it is kind of funny, you meet up with the group outside one of the tube station and pay the guy right there and then follow him around for an hour hehe. I think that there are a few companies that leave from the same area around the same time, so you could scout out which tour guide you like best and go with them.
        I think that any of them will be good!!! It’s a lot of fun 🙂

        Hope you have a great trip!!!

  • killkaties

    The Seven Stars is a good choice of pub but while on High Holborn you may wish to try Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese- lots of literary associations. Look it up.

  • smittenness

    If you’re after curry/Indain, try Brick Lane. The street is lined with restaurants and has guys outside beckoning you in. Ask for 10% off and a drink at least! Go on Sunday, it’ll be heaving but in a good way check out Spitalfields Market and Upmarket (on Brick Lane).
    Could combine it with Jack the Ripper tour as it’s nearby. Nearest tube station is Liverpool Street then it’s a walk through fab East London streets to brick Lane (about 5 minutes) Stop at the Ten Bells pub to see the mural – supposedly one of the Ripper’s victims had her last drink there, poor love.
    You’re going to love your trip here! Hope you have fun.

    • gegallas

      Oh, wonderful idea! 😀 I’ve heard of Brick Lane before, but completely forgot about that. Unfortunately, I won’t be in London on a Sunday, but I’ll definitely add this to my list.

      There’s no way I’ll have time to see all the pubs on my list, so I have to narrow everything down… but the Ten Bells pub sounds/looks really quite extraordinary!

      Thank you so much for your advice!

      Best regards,

      G. E.

  • Anja

    If you like cheesecake then the one you can buy, per slice/part is worth the idiotic price, at Fortnum and Mason.

  • ei.Works

    So jealous! I studied there for a year and just miss it terribly really horribly bad. Here are a few goodies. HAVE FUN!!!

    1. Make sure you check out the markets!!! Portobello and Camden Market are great, but Borough Market is truly special!

    2. You have to go to Mother Mash!

    3. Are you into silly nights of dancing?? Electric Ballroom was so much fun. During the day it’s a market, but at night it’s a dance club. the music is FUN.

    • gegallas

      Yay, thank you so much for all your advice! Must have been absolutely fantastic studying there. 🙂 Now I have to figure out how to squeeze all of this into three days, ha ha ha. Best regards, G. E.

  • petedavies66

    Very odd choice, the Lighthouse Fish Bar Tooting Bec Rd? Who suggested that? It’s near my apartment! It’s 22 minutes going south on The Northern Line, it’s ok but not worth the detour in my opinion. One of the best Fish and Chip restaurants is The Seashell, Lisbon grove, near Marylebone Station. Much more central for you. Out of all your choices the one I wouldn’t do is the Harrods Bus tour and tea. Just do that boat ride from Westminster to Greenwich, on a fast boat stopping only at Tower Bridge. Check TFL website. Good luck…..

    • gegallas

      See, this is exactly why I posted this list — to get a second opinion! Someone on Twitter suggested the Lighthouse Fish Bar, but I wasn’t sure about it. So thanks for that and for your fish & chips suggestions!!! You’ve been very helpful, as always. 😀 Best, G. E.

  • petedavies66

    Lisson Grove by the way, not Lisbon Grove…..damn predictive texting!

  • godtisx

    How is your trip (London) so far?

  • m.khalil

    You have a really exciting plan. I have been to the David Bowie exhibition it really good 🙂 your other choices in museums and tea house sound perfect.

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  • KnitNell

    London is wonderful – I never tire of it – I am an hour away by train and whenever I go (which is often) I always have a great day – even just walking around looking at the buildings.

    • gegallas

      Lucky you! I too enjoy walking around looking at buildings, so even if I don’t get to see everything on my list I think I’ll still have a wonderful time. 😀 Best regards, G. E.

  • 2Spools

    Oyster Card …. Machines at Underground Stations can be temperamental. If you can, do it online.

    Whitechapel Gallery ….. next to Underground Station. Free. Fabulous.

  • Clare Flourish

    Start conversations on the tube. None of us ever look at each other, but it can be done!

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