Traveling to the UK

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#1 Posted by NerfHerderV1 (6 posts) -

Hello fam! I will be flying out to England this week. Spending a few days in London, then traveling out to North Devon where I’ll be staying for a few months. Never been out there before!

Any suggestions for things to do/ see in London? Or the UK In general?

Also suuuper torn about whether I should bring my switch or not... backpacking and all. Anyway, look forward to hearing some suggestions!

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#2 Posted by cikame (2915 posts) -

Stay away from Bristol.

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#3 Posted by AlisterCat (8093 posts) -

Switch would be OK if you have the ability to frequently charge over USB C and a good case for it. Otherwise perhaps something smaller.

I like Brighton, but I live near there so I'm biased.

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#4 Posted by Yesiamaduck (2562 posts) -

Brighton is fun but is currently a pain in the arse to get to due to major raolwork rennovations, but there are a lot of gaming bars there and a thriving nightlife.

I too live there. I recommend going though if possible

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#5 Posted by Bollard (8185 posts) -

I'm sure you're well aware of all the main tourist attractions in London, so I won't list anything like that here. However, if you have any interest in Japan or art and design I recently went to Japan House on Kensington Highstreet. It's an excellent visit to kill a couple of hours and is still very central, I recommend it if you're looking for something different.

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#6 Posted by stantongrouse (237 posts) -

Not sure how well you know North Devon, but it's a nice rural part of Britain - if you're there for a while and you like the outdoors/walking etc. Exmoor has some great walks and views. The coast of Devon and Cornwall (the next county to the West) has loads of surfing and watersports hire places if that's your thing and with it being a holiday spot for the UK there's plenty of little museums, activity centres and such in that part of the country. However, getting from place to place without a car can feel a bit like going back in time outside of bigger towns in the UK - so have a chat with locals about getting around, Google can give ill advice (or none) on public transport in Devon and rural areas in general I find. I love that part of the island, it was our family holiday spot when I was small - it's nice going back now as it really hasn't changed much at all.

That part of Britain has some nice food too - pasties and seafood are particularly good from down there. And you should probably eat local ice cream everyday, I think there are bylaws to enforce that.

I hope you have an awesome time, anyone wanting to come here with how everything is at the moment gets a high five from me!

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#7 Posted by FrodoBaggins (2105 posts) -

Stay away from the Chavs.

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#8 Posted by JoeDangerous (609 posts) -
  1. Are you a museum or castle buff? If so you hit the jackpot! Just Google castles and museums to visit and you'll find that you're closer to one than you thought. Personally I recommend visiting the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds or taking a train up to Scotland and visiting the Edinburgh Castle.
  2. In general? Take an hour drive in a random direction and get a full English breakfast. It's the one thing I miss the most about my visit. This breakfast typically includes: beans, tea/coffee, tomato piece, mushrooms, bacon, sausage, and toast/fried toast. It's a LOT of food, but you'll be good for most of the day after this honker.
  3. A fan of sheep? Go into the northern plains and stare at all the sheep to your heart's content. Why mention this? Farmers let their sheep free roam, with nothing to mark them aside from a slight splotch of paint on their side. There's something really calming about a plethora of sheep spattering an absurdly green hill.
  4. Into vikings and modern museum experiences? Travel to York and visit the Jorvik Viking Centre. You'll stand on the spot where they unearthed the relics right before getting into a roller coaster-esque seat and traveling through a "viking experience". This includes: animatronics, voice over explaining day-to-day lives back then, recreated sets for those lives, and even some recreated smells. It's incredibly engaging. Bonus: York has a gigantic cathedral with a stairs challenge if you're feeling randy (it's like 300 small, curvy stairs that are actually more challenging to climb than I thought it'd be).

Overall you're in for a huge treat if you're into history in the vein of museums, cathedrals, or castles. Even if you get tired of the scenery: you're one train ride away from a day trip into Scotland. Well for now. Better get your traveling in before all the politics become confirmed.

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#9 Edited by gerrid (705 posts) -

It's not very good weather at the moment which is a shame, it was pretty nice last couple of weeks, so it'll be a good idea to plan out your days.

Take a walk from the Houses of Parliament in Westminster along the river to the Tate Modern (and further, to Tower Bridge, if you have the energy for it), for a couple of hours when it isn't raining. Just go to the Tate Modern if it is, and get a drink at the bar at the top.

Hit up the museums in Kensington: Natural History, Science and V&A (which has a great videogames exhibition on at the moment), whichever type takes your fancy, especially if the weather is bad. The Museum of Natural History is my personal favourite but they are all good, depends on what you like. The British Museum is also really interesting but it's on the other side of the City. If you are out that way, the Sir John Soane's Museum is pretty cool too, basically a mad collection of stuff from around the world all crammed into a big house.

If it is nice weather by some miracle, you can walk through St. James' Park to the Mall and see Buckingham Palace, then keep heading north to Hyde Park and then up to see The Ritz and get some food at The Wolseley (they do a lot of European classics in a very English setting). You can walk through the shopping streets to see the usual tourist stuff like Picadilly Circus and Covent Garden if you don't mind crowd, but I wouldn't say it was essential or really worth your time, especially if you are coming from another big city.

If you are around on the weekend there will be Rugby on, so you could find a pub that's showing it and settle in for some sports culture, if that's your thing.

For evenings, check out what's on at the Royal Albert Hall or St. John Smith's Square since you might catch something interesting. If you've never been to the Opera or Ballet or want to see a play, then there's a lot of options too, in some very famous and grand old buildings like the Royal Opera House. Look out for tickets to some old classics like The Mousetrap or The Woman in Black, if you can't book in advance they usually have day tickets available from 10am . Check out Time Out London for what's on when you are in the city.

If you look what is showing at the Prince Charles Cinema just off Leicester Square you might catch a classic film night, a sing-a-long or some other themed cinema experience. They do things like showing the original 40mm cut of Alien or an Escape from New York and Escape from LA double feature. You can then go for some food in China Town which is right next door, I would recommend getting crispy aromatic duck from any of the restaurants there. A quarter duck for one person would probably be just right, it's supposed to be some of the best in the world because of the quality of British ducks. I've never eaten it anywhere else in the world but can attest that it is delicious enough to recommend anyway.

Go for a curry in Brick Lane (and/or a roti canai from Gopal's corner in Victoria if you aren't out East). Tayyabs is an experience for sure, but there's lots of good food around there if you can't stomach the queue, including Beigel Bake and the stuff in the Shoreditch Box Park, or get one of the bacon breakfast naans from Dishoom. You could head across to the Old Spitalfields Market (get a Bleecker burger if you do) which is quite cool afterwards.

There's a lot of amazing food in London but if you just wander around looking for somewhere to eat, odds are you will be disappointed. So plan out places you want to go first, there's nothing worse than wandering hungry trying to decide which restaurant menu looks best and ending up being disappointed. If you are a meat eater then go to Hawksmoor, even if you just get a seat in the bar area. If you're very lucky you might get a seat for their sunday roast.

If you are around during the week days and want to try an English breakfast, I'd suggest the Regency Cafe on Regency Street near Pimlico. It's cash only, cheap, delicious, and a pretty memorable experience. Get there about 11am to beat the queues. You can walk from there to Big Ben and all that afterwards.

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#10 Posted by isomeri (3125 posts) -

I've spent more time in the UK, especially in the West Country, in recent years than I would perhaps like to. The public transport is quite bad and expensive so book everything as far in advance as possible. It's quite damp and cold inside most places, so bring warm clothes. Renting a car is a good way to go and explore the countryside and hit up some of the local pubs. The pubs are really great in fact, so spend as much time as possible in those as you can. If you're going to be spending a couple of months out there then bringing a Switch is not a bad idea at all. A lot of people bring very expensive laptops and phones to hostels, so I wouldn't worry about having a Switch in a backpacker setting and getting it stolen unless you do something dumb.

I probably make it sound much worse than it actually is. There's plenty of pretty places to see and interesting things to do.

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#11 Edited by Gundato (333 posts) -

Spent a few months in the UK a few years back and London is still one of my favorite places to do the tourist thing (try to go back at least once every two years). I recommend just browsing some sites to get ideas of where to go and to definitely check out places like Bletchley Park for a day trip.

The biggest tip I can give (especially if you are American): Get android pay/apple pay/whatever set up on your phone before you head over. Even if you have a chip and pin card it will save you so much time and the UK in general has adopted phone-based contactless payment more than just about any other country. Depending on the place you may still need to flash a card to let the waiter know you want to pay, but use your phone for the actual transaction. It is also incredibly convenient for "just wandering around" as you can tap on and off public transportation without needing to figure out if a day pass is worth grabbing.

I can only vouch for the seamlessness of Android Pay, but a coworker used Apple Pay during a recent trip and had no issues.

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#12 Posted by someoneproud (629 posts) -

North Devon's a beautiful rural area imo & London's got a bit of everything tbh when it comes to city stuff but I don't really know anything off the beaten path as I've only really visited for the obvious stuff everyone visits for.

If you like mountains / hiking / castles Wales is nice and Cardiff's a really nice city but it might be a bit of a trek from London/Devon.

Alton Towers is a decent and pretty big theme park on an old country estate near Stoke but again that might be a bit far to go just for that.

If you're interested in old Naval ships and stuff Portsmouth has a lot to see like Nelson / Henry VIII's flagships and a maritime museum.

Public transport is almost universally terrible and always be prepared for rain, regardless of how nice the weather seems.

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#13 Posted by Lindastanley1171996 (5 posts) -

I also recommend Brighton

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#14 Posted by soulcake (2820 posts) -

What ever you do in London don't do Madame tussauds. Giant tourist trap. Instead enjoy one of many free museums in London.

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#15 Posted by ichthy (1371 posts) -

Bookmarking this one for later since I'll be visiting the UK in June.

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#16 Posted by Shindig (4963 posts) -

I've never been south of Birmingham so can't offer much. Edinburgh is nice. As is Newcastle / Gateshead. I have to represent. Every time I mention London to the guys I know who live there, they tell me to steer clear.