Sr. Alice Byrnes, member of the Beatrix Potter Society, recommends staying at Kings College if you are traveling to London during the summer. The accommodations are simple but relatively inexpensive (for London that is). Contact: King's College Conference and Vacations Bureau, Third Floor, Strand Bridge House, 138-142 Strand London WC2R 1HH [tel: 020-7848-1700 / fax: 020-7848-1717 / email: firstname.lastname@example.org / web site: www.kcl.ac.uk]
Alexandra Hotel [159/161 Sussex Gardens, Hyde Park London W2 2RY / Tel: 020-7402-6471 / Fax: 020-7724-1049 / Website. The Molloy students who stayed at this hotel in the past have described it as simple, clean and affordable. Best of all it is only a few minutes from Paddington Station and is located in the plush Hyde Park area of London. The hotel has a family room for groups of up to five persons. From Paddington Station: walk strait down London Street and make a short left onto Sussex Gardens. The hotel will be on your right.
Tower of London [overpriced at £11.50 but worth it], Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey [free], Dickens House [£5.00] St. Paul's Cathedral [a rip-off at £7.50].
For a nice break from London's crowds and noise, take a stroll through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. On Sunday mornings at Speaker's Corner on the north-east corner of Hyde Park, amateur orators from all over London come and talk to the crowds. Kensington Palace's state apartments have been restored to their Victorian opulence and are now open to the public.
Theater and Museums
Half price, same day theatre tickets can be purchased at the Society of London Theatres (SOLT) kiosk on the southwest corner of Leicester Square. To reserve tickets from the US call Ticketmaster at 800.775.2525.
National Gallery -lots of great pics and best of all, free
Tate Gallery (ibid)
British Museum - for serious culture vultures like Dr. Steve Mayo, free.
Wonderful used and antiquarian book stores are located on Charing Cross Road just north of Leicester Square and at Cecil Court, off Charing Cross Road [two blocks south of Leicester Square].
Covent Gardens is filled with loads of cheesy stores, but is a pleasant evening shopping excursion.
Even if you don't buy anything, you should visit Harrod's, one of London's most opulent (and over-priced) department stores.
The Portobello Market [Portobello Road / Open Fri and Sat mornings and afternoons / take Tube to Notting Hilll Gate or Ladbroke Grove] has an interesting flea market with antiques.
Direct trains from London Paddington to Bath (1 1/2 hours), Oxford (1 hour)and Stratford-upon-Avon (2 1/2 hours). Trains to Cambridge (50-75 mins) depart from King's Cross Station every half hour.