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She Loves London in the Winter

Know in advance that most hotel rooms are small compared to American standards. Any of our Best Westerns or Motel 6 have larger rooms than the majority of places in London -- even in the best hotels. Do your research and ask friends for recommendations. I like staying in apartments and on my most recent trip I stayed at The Vancouver Studio Apartments in Bayswater. These apartments are comfortable with a friendly and knowledgable staff, excellent heating system, hot water all the time, and fully equipped kitchenettes. I noticed at least two other older, single women travelers who were return clients. Contact information: Vancouver Studios Apartments, 30 Prince's Square, Bayswater, London.
Tel: +44 (0) 207-243-1270
Fax:+44 (0) 207-221-8678
Email: info@vancouverstudios.co.uk
Website: www.vancouverstudios.co.uk
Be aware of pickpockets along Brompton Road by Harrod's. Two years ago my friend had her wallet taken out of her purse while we were in a cafe. Use a money belt or an ankle wallet. Speaking of Harrod's -- it's a zoo at Christmas time and if you must buy something there do it by Christmas eve since Harrod's closes for Christmas and does not reopen until the 29th. More and more stores are opening with great discounts on Boxing Day (12/26). If you are a shopper this is your day to shop until you drop!
Pub food has gotten much better over the years and is my favorite way to enjoy my afternoon meal. If shopping at Harrod's try the Tea Clipper which is off Brompton Road up the street from the one which has the Pret Manger on the corner. (there is also an Irish collectible store on that street.) A few blocks from The Palace you can find the Adam and Eve Pub on 81 Petty France (St James tube, District Line). The Tea Clipper serves wonderful Pot Pies along with hot sandwiches, and Adam and Eve serves sausages and mash, beef and beer stew with dumplings, hot sandwiches etc. Such warming foods are most welcomed after a chilly morning of walking, shopping and site seeing. Remember the No Smoking in restaurant bars and restaurant law has not been imposed in London. However, some are trying and the Adam and Eve pub has a small non smoking dining area.
If you wish to picnic or take a lunch with you the Pret Manger stores are great. All sandwiches and soups are made fresh daily. Really quality food.
Check Time Out magazine available at most orner stores and newsstands for free concerts and Christmas happenings. If you ice skate check out the rink outside the Courtauld Gallery after you've seen Van Gough and other Impressionists inside.
Spend time in Hyde Park. Bring food for the squirrels, ducks, swans, geese and other water fowl. Enjoy the people strolling with their dogs, riders with horses and the sheer beauty of the park. At 9am on Christmas morning go watch the 100 year old Peter Pan Cup race held in the Serpentine. It's free, it's fun, and a great way to start Christmas Day.
Use the 1/2 price ticket booth in Leicester Square for theatre tickets. Same day shows, good seats, good prices. They accept credit cards and cash.
Check out the various markets such as Spittafields, Camden Locks, Portabello, etc. and the neighborhoods around them. All different, all fun. You can find an excellent listing of these markets at the very informative website: www.londonelite.com. We were also most impressed with their complimentary section on walks around London. Check it out!
Finally, don't be afraid to ask directions, pack your silk longjohns, dress in layers and above all enjoy yourself.

Ed. note: If you live in London or have spent time there during the winter, please send your best travel advice to: editor@journeywoman.com. We'll be happy to add your tips to this article.


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