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Subject: Tourist guide for Veddy Great Britain-
Herc the Merc    2/21/2007 5:34:30 PM
Could u proud English, Scot, Welsh, Irish folks point out the spots and things to do while visiting Great Britain?? Any chance to meet the Royalty?? The food to eat, the spots to visit, the pubs to fight in, the golf courses and the comedy shows??
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flamingknives       2/21/2007 6:26:06 PM
I think that it depends greatly on what your interests are, where you're staying, how you intend to get around etc.

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Herc the Merc       2/21/2007 6:28:42 PM
London is a start, as a kid I still remember Picadaly. The Michelin restaurants--the timeframe say 5 days landing at Heathrow a budget of say $1500 (excludes hotel of course) per person.
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Heorot       2/21/2007 6:29:42 PM
For Tanks and Armour, Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset is a must see place. Allow a full day for a superficial visit.

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SGTObvious       2/21/2007 8:26:49 PM
I've been there (England) recently.  I could tell you stuff from the American point of view (The London Underground DOES NOT HAVE AIR CONDITIONING!!) but like they said, you have to narrow it down.  What floats your boat?
History?  All over the place. Roman History?  Bath, Chester.  Art, theatre, Cosmopolitan culture?  London.  Sheep?  The Cotswolds. 
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Herc the Merc    SGTobvious   2/21/2007 8:30:12 PM
I like it all, but tend towards entertainment and fewer muesems and all that stuff. Landmarks and historical sites are ok during the day but night out a great restaurant show and bar(with women) are a must.
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SGTObvious       2/21/2007 9:10:22 PM
I was more into the history end, did a lot of rural running around.  Urban nightlife, from what I saw, is London, and Liverpool.  Liverpool gets under-rated, what I call "second city syndrome"- sort of like how NYC in the USA sucks all the cool stuff away from other cities, so Philadelphia is a "second city".   London sucks the culture out of places like Liverpool.  However, I said under-rated:  Liverpool has a lot to be noticed for.  London has become in many ways a "world city".  Go to a pub and half the people are Polish.  Liverpool on the other hand, is actually more British.  Also, like in NYC, foreigners are a dime a dozen in London, but in Liverpool being American will earn you *exotic foreigner points*.  The women of Liverpool have not seen American business travellers, tourists, artists and actors every day of their lives.   
The tour busses in London, and the tour boats on the Thames are really funny.  By the time the tour is through you are convinced that British history is based around murder, plague, fire, treason, and gruesome torture and execution.  "And on this spot, in 1511, Edward the Unlucky was executed.  He was drawn and quartered and his entrails were hung up around the square in a festive holiday display"  that sort of thing.
In Liverpool the tour busses are ex-WWII amphibious trucks.
London has better food by far.  London is also more expensive. 
Find pubs.  They are everywhere.  England, for all intents and purposes is closed after 6 pm and the entire nation heads into the pubs.  After 6, you have 2 choices, theatre or pub.  The idea of the late night or 24 hr store or museum is new to them, but is spreading.   So are American gray squirrels.  Indian food is considered normal to the English, Chicken Tikka Massalla is as commonplace on a pub menu there as ribs are here.
Avoid coin pay phones if you can, they suck down Euros.  If you think you will be calling, buy a phone card.  Be prepared with proper clothes.  Bad weather is NEVER and excuse in England. 
Oh yes, the Brits are very much into the concept of "proper".  You are expected to know things, like how tea shops work and that in the London underground, you need your ticket to get OUT as well as in. 
Driving is not nearly as tough as you might think, even if they are on the wrong side.  Since the car is mirror imaged too, your brain adjusts quickly.  Brits are very good on the roads, but beware the Welsh.  They drive with a "most intimidating vehicle has right of way" rule.  Also beware of roundabouts.  They are every bit as evil as their reputation.  DO NOT rent a car if you are not interested in the countryside.  The public transport is good, even if the locals complain, it is better than ours, gas is expensive, and parking in any urban area requires the skill and dexterity of a chinese acrobat.  Be Careful, though, of public transport on weekends.  This is when they schedule repairs, and even the locals might not know that a particular train line is not working that day, or has changes to schedule.
Also beware of driving in the inner core area of  small towns.  The street plans haven't changed since King Arthur, and passing another car when the road is only 1.9 cars wide is a bit of a challenge.  The really Historical area of every town is generally just a small area- do not be surprised that most of England looks like an ordinary modern suburb.
What we call an English Muffin, they call a Muffin.  They are not sure what to call an American Muffin, which, in Europe, seems to ALWAYS have Blueberries.  I don't know why they think all American muffins must have blueberries.  Try the black pudding just once, just to say you did. 
If you see a large group of German tourists, stay away.  They act like drones, doing everything in unison, and cause very long lines.  Including at the bathrooms.
The English are in love with their gardens.  They will attend a garden show with the same sense of excitement as an American going to a NASCAR event.  If you make just one comment on the beauty of a rose bush, you have a new friend.
Anything else?
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Herc the Merc    Thanks SGTObvious   2/21/2007 9:16:56 PM
--How about some key historical places like, Buckingham palace etc--and the "in" pubs or nite clubs. Any must eat restaurants--??
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SGTObvious       2/21/2007 9:32:36 PM
Buckingham didn't impress me.  It wasn't open to the public.  Okay, they have guards with snappy outfits who stand like rocks, but three blocks away the guards are just as snappy, and have to stand there watch on HORSES right in front of the public.
I liked the Tower of London better.  And the War Museum.  Take the bus tour, and the boat tour, you will get a quick intro to 100 spots and can go later spend more time at whichever caught your attention.
Food- odd, but my favorite restarant in London was actually Chinese, called The Good Earth, near Knightsbridge(??)  but London is crawling with restaurants, in that area and in the theatre district, and the Brits here are probably better guides than I.  And as I said- the pubs.  Sausages, meat pies.  Hit a few pubs.
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flamingknives       2/22/2007 2:57:27 PM
All the major cities have fairly good nightlife, but all except London do tend to be themed. Some people would like a night out in, say Nottingham, but hate Birmingham (actually the second largest city) Others would prefer Liverpool or Manchester.

The Castles are always interesting, some more so than others. Warwick Castle, for example, often has a contingent of medieval reenactors in over the summer, demonstrating combat, falconry, archery and everyday living. In London there are tons of museums and historic working buildings. The Globe - a reconstruction of the theatre made famous by Shakespeare - stages the Bard's plays, for example. The London Eye, a very large ferris wheel, is worth a look, but needs booking in advance. The south bank of the Thames has many good pubs, bars, restaurants and theatres, but it's not so good more than 100m or so back from the river.

The "theatre district" is called "The West End". That said, the British are expert at understand people speaking English badly (If not, then no-one would understand Northerners) so they'll probably get what you're on about.

As for food, bacon and pancakes aren't what you think they are, eating out is expensive and slow, and portion sizes might not be what you expect. Pubs often do good food, but you always get some that are atrocious.
A full English Breakfast has to be done. There's nothing quite like it for the morning after the night before. Bear in mind that no matter how awful a black pudding sounds, it's probably no worse than what's in the sausages.
English cuisine is much maligned, but can be outstanding. Steak and kidney pies, battered fish and chips*,  and roast dinners especially, when done well, are as close to ambrosia as you will find. When done badly you will want to perform a stomach-ectomy with the steak-knife. Avoid "Beefeater" restaurants along with anything that looks similar. Garish signs serve to warn away anyone with a discerning palate.

Drinking. Most beers are more than 3% by vol. alcohol, frequently 5% or so. Cider is a bad joke played on young drinkers and foreigners and scrumpy (a stronger form of cider) is a bad joke played on everyone. Chances are that you won't find proper Scrumpy in the cities, but you have been warned...
Most bars will stock the same range of spirits, on a row of optics, and these are typically fairly poor. Good bars will often have better spirits stood upright below the optics. 

When out on the town:
Burberry tarten pattern is much beloved of the English underclass, often referred to as 'Chavs'. If numerous people are wearing it, find a different bar. Cheap gold jewellry, sportswear and white trainers are also warning signs.
> will give you ample information that will allow you to avoid these undesirables. I may be harping on, but I really wouldn't want someone thinking that these beings were representative of the British people. Good class areas are not very ostentatious, so look for subtle signs that things are expensive. If it's flashy, be a bit more wary.
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1FER       2/22/2007 5:02:40 PM
 When I was in London a good few years ago I found that a 5 zone travel card was a great way to get about town. Its good for both buses and trains. Hop on a double decker bus and get the top front seats and its a good way to orientate youself with the lay of the land, just avoid a.m. and p.m. peak travel times. With a  bus route map its easy to get from one side of the city to another. The black cabs can be expensive.
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