Opinions on England

My longest visit to England was only 10 days, and mostly I go on short business trips, but I've kept track of where I've stayed and ate, as well as some of the sights I've seen there. Note that I put "#" after a number to indicate that number of British pounds, and phone numbers leave out the 011 44 and instead show the leading 0 one would dial if already in England.


I won't stay in a room without a private bath, so assume all rooms in a place have one if I don't mention it specifically.

Cumberland. Marble Arch, London, 4/98, 112#. From Marble Arch underground station, turn right & hotel is on the corner. The street noise is intense in rooms 2093 and 6093. Aside from that it's an OK location for shoppers.

Hilton National. Walcot St, Bath, 01225 463 411, 9/98, 90#. A 10-15 minute walk from the train station, so, with bags, a taxi is advised. Rm 330 faces north on the south el of the hotel, so it gets noise from the underground car park's ventilator until 11PM, and it starts again at 7AM. Some noise from street action is also a mild nuisance until about 11:45PM. Try for a room facing south or, preferably, east. Otherwise a decent room, if a bit tired.

Hotel Russell. Russell Sq, London, 0171 837 6470, 6/98, 102#. From Russell Sq underground station, turn left & hotel is at end of block. Rm 563 is a single on the airshaft, which is quiet unless there is a big party, in which case forget it. Also, a blanket is required under the door to stop smoke coming up from lower rooms. An outside room on the 5th floor or higher that faces south might be acceptable.

The Moat House. Worthy Lane, Winchester, 01962 709 988, 4/98, 90#. Don't let a cabbie talk you into walking from the train station unless your bags are very light and it isn't raining. Rm 123 is a smoking room and has NO windows, just skylights. Rm 218 is non-smoking and otherwise OK, but noise isolation from adjacent room, nor from the train line, is not very good. Includes free use of nearby recreation center.

Norfolk Plaza. Norfolk Square (middle of south side), London, 4/99, 79# if American Express make the booking, 89# otherwise. Bigger rooms than the Norfolk Towers, but a shabbier feeling to them. The square doesn't get much foot or car traffic at night, but the rooms facing the back are definitely worth a try. Rm 205 is a two-level suite facing the front, with sitting at entry, bed & bath upstairs. The space is good, the steps and the lack of a phone downstairs are not. An easy walk from Paddington Station, which has the fast train to Heathrow Airport (10#, 15 minutes, leaving every 15 minutes).

Norfolk Towers. 34 Norfolk Pl (southeast corner of Norfolk Square), London, 0171 262 3123, 4/99, 73#. Rm 315 is a small single in back, OK when the neighbors are quiet, but they sometimes have a live band playing until 1AM.

Pastoria. London, 2/81. Very convenient to Leicester Square but even in February the crowd there can be making noise until well after midnight, so consider an inside room.

Quaker International Center. 1 Byng Pl, London, 0171 387 5648, 6/98, 60# (approx). This is where friends of mine stayed, so I can only say from my brief visits there that it seems like a decent place for students traveling cheaply, with modest rooms and one communal, coeducational bathroom on each floor.

Royal Hotel. St Peter St, Winchester, 01962 840 840, 5/98, 92#. Rm 156 is too close to the tables on the patio, maybe rm 176 is better. Rm 120 is plenty fancy but faces the street, which gets somewhat noisy foot traffic until fairly late at night. Water temperatue regulation in the shower is the poorest I'd ever had, until I stayed at the Wykeham.

Strand Palace. Strand, London. My parents are big fans of this place, since it's reasonably priced, always has rooms available, and is within walking distance of the theaters. It's right on the Strand, so traffic noise is intense at all times of the day and night.

Wessex Hotel. Pater Noster St, Winchester, 01962 861 611, 9/98, 99#. Rm 224 gets elevator noise and, when window is open, delivery truck noise early in the morning. Rm 231 gets the same plus noise from the entrance. Rms 202 to 212 (even & odd are both on that side) are better, rms 211 & 212 are probably the best in that area; rm 244 is even nicer, I think. Shower pressure a bit low but very good temperature regulation. Otherwise a good hotel in a great, central location.

Wykeham Arms. Kingsgate Rd, Winchester, 01962 863 834, 6/98, 70#. Rm Beaufort, like all of the rooms in the pub itself, gets smoke coming up from the pub unless all of the fire doors are really shut and a blanket is stuffed under the room's door. Noise from the pub is not loud, but persistent, until about 11:45PM, in any room that faces the street. (The ones above the pub that face the back get kitchen noise, which I wouldn't care for, either. I think the only hope is the rooms across the street that don't face the pub.) Water temperatue regulation in the shower is the poorest I've ever had; it varied, uncontrollably, from freezing to scalding and back.


Alfred. 245 Shaftsbury Ave, London, * rpk 4/98-4/99, neat, 20#. Potted duck, chicken w/bacon, duck w/potatoes, guinea fowl, chocolate cake w/malted ice cream.

Anchor Inn. 34 Park St, Southwark, London S.E. 1, 407-1577.

Ask Pizza. 101 High St, Winchester, 01962 849 464, * rpk 6/98-9/98, neat, cards, 12#. Stromboli pizza, mixed salad, house red.

Bakery. Ludgate Hill, London, fair rpk 11/91, L M-F, casual, $5-9. Chile con carne, pork pasty.

Cafe Pacifico. Lindley St, London, * rpk 11/91, casual, $10-15. Tex-Mex. Fajitas.

Charles House. near Upper High St, Winchester, fair rpk 6/98, neat, MC V, 15#. Spring rolls. OK: (bland) kung pao chicken, (hohum) special fried rice.

The Cow. 89 Westbourne Park Rd, W2, London, 0171 221 0021, gm 10/98. Pub with evening food service.

Eton Wine Bar. High St, Eton, ** rpk 11/91, casual, cards, $8-12. Soup, pate, pork pie.

Gandhi. lower end of High St, Winchester, * nh 4/99.

Geales Fish Restaurant. 2 Farmer St (near Notting Hill Gate tube station), W8, London, 0171 727 7969, * rpk 4/99, casual, 12#. Fish & chips (cod for beginners, plaice for initiates).

Giorgio. St George St, Winchester, fair 6/98, casual, cards, 16#. Italian. OK: chicken Valdostano.

Grenadier, The. 18 Wilton Row, Belgravia, London S.W. 1, 235-3074.

Harry Ramsden's. departures area balcony, Terminal 1, Heathrow Airport, 0181 745 5022, * rpk 8/98-4/99, daily 6AM-10AM, 11AM-9PM, ns3. Haddock fillet, plaice fillet, chips, mixed salad.

Helenik. 86 St John St, London, * rpk 4/98, neat, cards, $25. Greek. Melon, mixed kebabs, Greek salad, baklava.

Hotel du Vin. 14 Southgate St, Winchester, 01962 841 414, ** rpk 4/98, daily, jacket s, 14-19#. Loin of lamb, chicken in some sauce, opera cake, the 10 lb Australian red wine. OK: Thai crab cake.

India Club, The. 143 Strand, London, WC2, 8369270, * js 89, probably no cards, $cheap.

Le Club Sandwich. 129 Baker St just south of Marlyebone Rd, London, 0171 487 5556, * rpk 4/99. Crumbly cake, cafe mocha.

Le Meridien. Picadilly, London, * rpk 11/91, jacket n, tea $18. Earl Gray, tea sandwiches, scones, desserts.

Morry's Bagels. 39 Coventry St W1, London, England, $cheap.

Mr. So. 3 Jewry St, Winchester, fair rpk 4/98, M-Sa, neat, cards, $24. Chinese. Spring rolls. Avoid: (dried out) crispy chicken w/garlic & chili.

Museum Tavern. 49 Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London W.C. 1, * rpk 11/91, casual, $8-10. Ploughman's platter w/cheddar or Stilton, cask ales.

New Curry Centre. 72 Shaftsbury, London, * rpk 11/91, daily, casual, cards, $8-12. Indian. Chicken tikka, chicken w/sweet & sour red lentil curry, nan, garlic nan.

Nine the Square. 9, the Square, Winchester, * rpk 5/98, neat, $35. Duck.

Old Chesil Rectory. Chesil St, Winchester, 01962 851 555, ** rpk 4/98-9/98, neat, cards, 40#. St Andrews ale, duck breast & duck confit in dark sauce, beef filet, sorbets, bread pudding w/rhubarb, chocolate mousse w/raspberries. OK: lamb w/baked beans.

Pappagallo. 1 City Rd, Winchester, fair rpk 9/98, neat, cards, 12#. Nile perch, chicken fra diavollo. OK: chicken Valdostano.

Pierre Victoire. Pulteney Bridge, Bath, 01225 334 334, * rpk 9/98, casual, MC V, 15#. Smoked salmon, poached chicken w/fruit compote.

Pizza Express. Bridge St, Winchester, fair rpk 4/98-5/98, casual, $20. OK: ham & eggs, pizza margherita, salad nicoise, house wines.

Poon's.Leicester St, London, poor rpk 11/91, casual, $8-12. Chinese. OK: chicken w/cashews. Avoid: hot & sour soup, wind-dried duck.

Red Onion. around corner from Sotheby's, London, fair rpk 11/91, casual, $4-8. OK: jacket potatoes w/chile con carne.

Ruskin's. Museum St, London, * rpk 4/99. Chicken curry sandwich, cafe mocha. NB: street beggars can be pests if you sit outside.

Salisbury. 90 St. Martin's Lane, Covent Garden, London W.C. 2, 836-5863. Ale, people watching.

Star Tavern. 6 Belgrave Mews West, Belgravia, London S.W. 1, 235-3019.

The Stock Pot. Grange St (I think) east of Haymarket, London, fair rpk 4/99, casual, 10#. OK: avocado vinaigrette, beef burgundy. Avoid: cherry & apple pie.

Suhel's Balti House. St George's St, Winchester, * rpk 6/98, neat, cards, 11#. Chicken tikka masala, meat (lamb) balti, vegetable balti, nan.

Wilton Arms, The. 71 Kinnerton St, Belgravia, London S.W. 1, 235-4854.

Wykeham Arms, The. Winchester, * rpk 5/98, daily, neat, $28. Skate, steak, house claret. OK: rack of lamb.


Blenheim Palace. on the A-44 northwest of Oxford. The grounds, designed by Capability Brown, are gorgeous. The tour of the private apartments is nothing that special compared to the grand rooms in the main tour, but you might as well see it while you are there.

Hawk Conservancy. on the A-303 east of Stonehenge. The birds are not too exciting by themselves, but the shows are great.

Stonehenge. on the A-303. No, they don't let you touch it anymore, unless you make a reservation for a private viewing about a year in advance. In late May it's pretty popular, with a 10 minute wait in the ticket line; Stu says that in February it's much quieter.

Winchester Cathedral. Be sure to go up to the library to see the old globes and the display of the Winchester bible.

Wren's churches in London. They're all closed on the weekends.

The opinions expressed in this guide were provided by myself.