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What to do in London for 3 hours


along for the ride mum
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Got to be at earls court at lunchtime, then free until about 5:30, I will have two ballet mad 12 yr olds with me. We don't mind shopping but don't want to waste time wandering, I did wonder if it's worth taking them over to Covent garden to visit the Bloch shop and Freeds but we aren't after anything in particular, are these shops worth a browse maybe? Or should we maybe go to oxford Street for general window shopping? Is there somewhere ballet related they'd enjoy?

Edited by along for the ride mum
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The V&A could be a good place to mooch as it's not too far from Earls Court and it does have the theatre and dance collections, some of which may be on display.

 

In Covent Garden there's the artsy crafty stalls in the market hall and usually buskers and what have you plus lots of interesting shops in the side streets and you could go into the foyer of ROH and perhaps into the shop...

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The V&A could be a good place to mooch as it's not too far from Earls Court and it does have the theatre and dance collections, some of which may be on display.

 

In Covent Garden there's the artsy crafty stalls in the market hall and usually buskers and what have you plus lots of interesting shops in the side streets and you could go into the foyer of ROH and perhaps into the shop...

I was just going to suggest the ROH shop! A lovely place for bunheads to browse.

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Definitely Covent Garden for me!  The street entertainers and small shops and stalls are lovely and the ROH shop is a must.  You could carry on from there in the direction of Trafalgar Square through St. Martin's Lane and Freeds and visit St. Martin's in the Fields.  The National Gallery at the top of Trafalgar Square has free entrance so you could take them in there for a bit too. 

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As a paid-up fan of the V&A, I would recommend Covent Garden for your ballet-mad young companions as the V&A Theatre galleries aren't currently showing much ballet stuff.  I was there a few weeks ago, Margot Fonteyn' s Vienna Black Swan tutu and Suzanne Farrell's Bugaku tutu were on display but I suspect that they would probably get more of a thrill out of the ROH (even just the exterior) and surrounding dance shops, or you could search out the dance-related pictures in the National Gallery or National Portrait Gallery.

On the other hand, if they have a general interest in Theatre, the V&A would be fine for an hour or two.

Also, the V&A  has a gallery on the ground floor devoted to historic street dress - I initially wrote everyday dress but a lot is designer so that's not quite the right word.  

Edited by Grand Tier Left
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If you are going to Covent Garden on the tube, remember that the station is exit only at the moment. Leicester Square station is the nearest alternative, at the other end of Long Acre, about 5 minutes' walk.

 

The V & A museum (South Kensington on the tube) has a great display of theatrical items, sets, props and costumes, including the Black Swan tutu worn by Margot Fonteyn.

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We were in London last week (the final day the ROH shop was open.

 

Covent Garden is always worth a walk round. I personally find the dance shops uninspiring (we actually needed stuff for dd & struggled to find nice ranges).

 

Dd & I did enjoy the V&A Theatre gallery but we both love musicals & theatre in general & she liked the set designs.

 

Dd is 12 & probably a bit old for it now but she used to like looking in the paper model theatre shop in Covent Garden. (Pollocks?)

 

Failing that there is always M&M World at Leicester Square.

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One of my favourite museums in London is actually The Museum of London at the Barbican!  We took a group of ballet students there some years ago and they loved it - no connection to ballet of course, but we had to drag them away!   It deals with London through the ages but from a social history point of view (nearly wrote pointe of view!).  There is a wonderful light and sound model of the Great Fire of 1666, for example.  There are displays of shops and rooms of furniture, clothes, scenes of family life.  I think the Coronation coach is there too. 

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I think I mentioned it in the other thread, but I gather Sir John Soane's Museum in Lincoln's Inn is well worth a visit.  "Eclectic" is the word, I believe.

 

One of these years I'll actually make it in there ... :(

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I think I mentioned it in the other thread, but I gather Sir John Soane's Museum in Lincoln's Inn is well worth a visit. "Eclectic" is the word, I believe.

 

One of these years I'll actually make it in there ... :(

Was there today! Is well worth a visit but is in the middle of a restoration project due to finish next Spring I believe. All the curators are passionate about the museum and the collections.

Across Lincoln Inn the medical museum is also worth a visit.

Edited by Jane
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  • 1 year later...

I fancy doing the tourist thing on my upcoming trip to London. I have the RB in the evening and I want to go to an exhibition of Russian art at the National Portrait Gallery. Weather permitting and as I am too lazy to walk,  I would like to go on one of those open top bus tours of 'the sights' of central London. I had a look at what's on offer but I would like to maybe see something a bit out of the ordinary as well. I don't need somebody to charge me 30 quid to tell me I am looking at Big Ben!

I wonder if anyone here has been on a good bus tour they could recommend?

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I don't know any organised bus tours, but how about a boat trip from Embankment or Waterloo piers, which are near Covent Garden.

The fast River Bus to Greenwich is fun: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/river/?intcmp=64

 

Two of the more interesting bus routes on the TfL journey planner are:-

the 11 (Liverpool Street / City / Strand /Trafalgar Square / Westminster / Victoria / Sloane Square / Kings Road)

or the RV1 (Covent Garden / Waterloo Bridge / London Eye / South Bank / Southwark / Borough / past London Bridge / City Hall / over Tower Bridge to near the Tower and St Katherine's Dock).

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The number 15 bus is a short historic ride from Trafalgar Square to the Tower, then you could get the RV1 bus back from opposite the DLR Tower Gateway station, which goes across to the South Bank and finishes at Covent Garden. I like doing this sometimes, you have to make sure you get the RV1 that says Covent Garden and not Waterloo though.

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I agree with the tip of using ordinary scheduled buses for sightseeing.  As well as the 11, 15 and RV1 (recommended above) the 9 is good, and you can pick it up from Kensington HIgh Street which isn't far from Earl's Court.  It goes from Hammersmith to Covent Garden via Kensington, the Royal Albert Hall, Hyde Park Corner, Piccadilly, Trafalgar Square...

 

(I've been in London nearly 17 years and I never tire of the sightseeing, really - I use the 11 a lot as it goes straight past my office in Pimlico and takes me to the Royal Opera House...)

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