Thursday, August 17, 2006

London thing

Here’s one I prepared earlier. Back in May, a friend asked for things to do in London that are less touristy and a lot Dr Who. This is what I came up with for day one:

Start in the morning by getting the tube to Bank station.

Get the Docklands Light Railway from Bank to Greenwich Cutty Sark, and admire the groovy buildings and stuff along the way. Your homework before this trip is to watch The Long Good Friday, which (as well as having a young Pierce Brosnan offer his bottom to the villain from Raiders of the Lost Ark) shows lots of the area you'll be going through, before it all got smartened up.

At Greenwich, wander up to the (free) Royal Observatory - the centre of world time, apparently - and have a look at the nice clocks. It can be crowded outside where people stand on the meridian line, but it's usually quieter once you get inside.

Once you're done there, head back down through the park to the (also free) Queen's House (where they filmed Dr Who and the Dimensions in Time, and also where I got marriaged). The paintings inside aren't very exciting, so don't bother hanging around too long.

Then go see the Cutty Sark (a big boat from Dimensions in Time), and head for the big glass-domed thing at the water's edge. From there, you can see the Millennium Dome (to your right). James Bond fell on it once.

The glass-domed thing is the entrance to the free foot tunnel to Island Gardens (under the Thames). It was my favourite thing in London when I was little.

My Time TravellersFrom Island Gardens, take the Docklands north to Canary Wharf. Get out and change on to the Jubilee line. The Jubilee-line bit of the station is cool and space-age. You might also like to take a ten-minute detour outside and go see the traffic-light tree what I put on the cover of my Dr Who book.

Take the Jubilee line to Westminster. It's also space-age. Exit the station and gaze happily up at the Palace of Westminster (aka the “Houses of Parliament”). The pub right by the station, the St Stephen's, can be crowded but is nice and you'll probably need a drinkie anyway.

Fully loaded DaleksHead to the river, and look at (but don't cross) Westminster Bridge, which is the one with the Daleks on it in that photo, and the one the Dr and Rose hold hands on as they run over.

Having admired the view, turn round and walk back up to the corner with the parliamentary bookshop on it. Parliament square, with Winston's statue, is to you diagonal left. On the other side of the road right in front of you is a building with a squarish tower on top of it. They filmed the opening of the Prisoner there (with Number 2 driving his sportscar past Parliament and into the underground carpark nearby).

Anyway. Turn right onto Whitehall, and wave at Downing Street as you go past. Not much to see by peering through the gates, but they've repaired it very well since Dr Who blew it up last year.

Carry on to Trafalgar Square and see if you can climb on the lions - it seems to be the thing to do if you are foreign.

But it's probably a bit touristy. So:

In front of where Nelson is looking is a roundabout with a statue of some king on it. Cross on to that, and then left to the Waterstones on the far side of the road. Follow Northumberland Avenue down to the river, and cross Waterloo (foot)bridge.

At the south end of the bridge, head right, down the steps and go play on the London Eye / Auton antennae dish. Worth paying for a ride.

Then, back again under Waterloo bridge and along the river front, and maybe pretend to be a Draconian on the walkways round the National Theatre and Hayward. Yes, that's where Frontier in Space took place.

After you've browsed the bookstalls outside the National Film Theatre (and under Waterloo bridge), hang a left away from the river and head to the underpass where the IMAX cinema is. It's fun, but expensive, if you want to stop off.

Follow the signs for Waterloo Road - you want to be on the other side of the road from Waterloo station, on the side of Stamford Street. Follow Waterloo Road past the kebab shops, and turn right just before you get to the pub called the Wellington (very tactfully, this is the first thing French people see when emerging from the Channel Tunnel trains).

Nestling behind the Wellington are some quiet streets of traditional yellow-brick houses, in which Remembrance of the Daleks got filmed. On Roupell Street, there's also a very good pub, the Kings Arms.

The Thai place on Waterloo Road is good for a well-deserved tea, and you're right by Waterloo station which will get you back to wherever you are staying once you are properly full of beer.

Day 2 another time…


Liadnan said...

"In front of where Nelson is looking is a roundabout with a statue of some king on it."

It''s Charles II and it's effectively the UK's "Golden Milestone" ie, it's the point from which all distances to London are measured.

Anonymous said...

You completely failed to mention that the "Canary Wharf" building (use of inverted commas deliberate, as any fule no) was also the site of Torchwood and the big swirly Dalek/Cyberman battle at the end of the last series. Pew! Pew!

Do remember to take an umbrella or something to hide behind, just in case you bump into escapee Dalek Sec.

Nimbos said...

The statue of Charles II is also, apparently, the oldest *original* public statue still in place in London. It's also, near-enough, where the original Charing Cross stood before it was torn down by the mob in an anti-catholic frenzy.

Also, with my pedantic hat on (yes I know it's *always* on) the "Waterloo (foot) bridge" is the Hungerford footbridge and 10 Downing Street is blown-up some time this year (2006) as Rose left for the year 5 billion in 2005 and returned to find she'd been missing for a year.

Paul Rhodes said...

Now, now. If you're going to be pedantic, the footbridges either side of the Hungerford bridge are properly called the Golden Jubilee Bridges.

But it is of course really still Hungerford Bridge. Definitely not the same thing as Waterloo Bridge, which itself is a perfectly good footbridge as well as having a road down the middle.

PS: given these directions, you turn *right* away from the river.


0tralala said...

Blimey, hello everybody.

Yes, Liadnan, I know it's not just any old king. And doesn't Charlie look happy about the prospect of riding his horse down Whitehall and over the bit of ground where his daddy got de-bonced?

Torchwood Tower had yet to be invented when I wrote my guide, David, and I forgot to update it. As well as setting my own Dr Who in it, I have also been to the top floor. Hooray!

Thanks also to Nimbos and Ul desaphro for pedantry. I shall have to reread part two before posting it now.

Oh, and Nimbos: do you recognise the post title?

Anonymous said...

And didn't we end up saying that UNIT was based in the pyramid at Canary Wharf in the Big Finish audio dramas? That's a great idea, someone should... oh...

Steve said...

And it's Number Six's sports car, not Number Two's, surely? Simon, you have a Number Two obsession...