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ragnvaeig London - A travel report by Amanda
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London,  United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom
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ragnvaeig's travel reports

London for the Unpretentious Goth

  14 votes
London is one of the original goth cities--a Mecca in the same echelon as New Orleans and Paris. Her glorious past hangs in the atmosphere like a veil, but it's easy to be a modern goth on her streets.


The lions in Trafalgar Square.
The lions in Trafalgar Square.
I spent a week in London on business, so my time wasn't entirely my own, but I did as well as I could in the time I had. If you'll be in London for any real length of time, or will be there multiple times, you might consider getting an unregistered Oyster card for the Underground; you'll pay about half the cost of the regular ticket and you'll get to jump most of the awful queues during rush hour.

Favourite spots:
Always look up on London's streets.
Always look up on London's streets.
Camden Market is probably the best place to find alternative shopping. One could easily spend several thousand quid in a day there. Don't bother with the market that's actually labelled Camden Market--go instead to the one near the railroad bridge, as the shopping is better. You are forewarned: Saturdays are very crowded!

What's really great:
The British Library, with St. Pancras in the background.
The British Library, with St. Pancras in the background.
London's major museums are all free of charge. If you've a free hour or two over lunch or the like, find the closest one and have a wander around. I actually spent a few hours with my little historian's nose pressed up against the glass at the British Museum, where I had a wonderful gawk at things like mummies, Maori sculpture, Greek bronze armor, and the Rosetta Stone. The courtyard around the old British library building has been glassed in, and is most impressive. Didn't manage to get to the Victoria and Albert, but I would love to peruse their textiles. I got my fix at the London City Museum near St. Paul's, which did have some lovely 18th century dresses and plenty of Victoriana.

Sights:
The London Eye, with a brooding sky in the background.
The London Eye, with a brooding sky in the background.
The London Eye is NOT to be missed. Go a little before dusk for some of the best views of the city as all the lights descend.

Accommodations:
The view north from the Park Lane Hilton.
The view north from the Park Lane Hilton.
If you can afford it, say for a honeymoon or the like, the Park Lane Hilton is fabulous, but I was there on business (read: pricey!). The rest of the time I was there I stayed with a friend--you will probably want to do the same.

Nightlife:
The tower in which Big Ben hangs.
The tower in which Big Ben hangs.
There are plenty of specifically goth venues in London. Slimelight (http://www.slimelight.com), probably the biggest event, is in Islington on Saturdays. It's started a membership policy, but you can find people to add you as a guest. Personally, I think it's a little overrated, but it's the event most people know. Otherwise, Full Tilt happens in Camden Town at the Electric Ballroom on Fridays, and Gossips in Dean Street off Oxford Street (near Tottenham Ct Road) has two events weekly: Tuesday is Malice Underground (goth/industrial) and Thursday is Club Noir (EBM/Darkwave/techno/industrial).

Hangouts:
Behind the Palace of the Queen's Horse Guard, some interesting (and probably Welsh) artillery.
Behind the Palace of the Queen's Horse Guard, some interesting (and probably Welsh) artillery.
Overall, it's pretty easy to be a goth in London. It's pretty tolerant of alternative lifestyles--even friendly. Just use your head and you shouldn't get any hassle.

Restaurants:
A Royal Air Force memorial on the quayside along the Thames.
A Royal Air Force memorial on the quayside along the Thames.
If you're on Euston Road for lunch, like I was, there are a few good spots on Chalton Street, including a pasta cafe and a pub on the corner with a good 2-for-1 lunch deal (if you've a friend/willing victim).

Black and Blue up in Hampstead has wonderful steak. Two can split one of the larger cuts and be totally satisfied. Coffee, Cake and Kink (http://www.coffeecakeandkink.com) is a lovely little alternative cafe, which hosts fetish events, and the nosh is fab.

If you're down in the Soho area, Maison Touaregue on Old Compton Street/Greek Street serves some fabulous Moroccan food.

Service, as a whole, wasn't great in the city.

Other recommendations:
The tower where Big Ben hangs.
The tower where Big Ben hangs.
The ghost walks done by London Walks (http://www.walks.com) are a bit touristy but definitely get you into a properly spooky mood. The Tower of London is also a must-see, but skip the London Dungeon, as it's not worth the entrance fee.

If you sew, there are some worthwhile fabric shops in London. For expensive-but-lovely, wander around both on and off Berwick Street in Soho. The cheaper shops are on Goldhawk Road and Shepherd's Bush, and their selection is usually decent.

I'm never home without knowing where the local comic shop is. London's Forbidden Planet is on Shaftesbury Avenue/Neal Street. Peek ahead, as Neil Gaiman shows up for book signings from time to time.

Published on Tuesday November 7th, 2006


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Sun, Nov 12 2006 - 03:20 PM rating by st.vincent

You managed to get around a fair bit considering you were there on business. I agree about the London Dungeon, and the Battle of Britain memorial is great if it is not surrounded by kids and coach parties.

Thu, Nov 09 2006 - 05:27 AM rating by terje

Hi, my friend! Again a fresh report on a tourist destination seen with your personal glasses.

Wed, Nov 08 2006 - 05:03 PM rating by picasso

Interesting report and a good read.I like the images as well.It is short,but well done

Wed, Nov 08 2006 - 09:59 AM rating by marianne

Nice report, good info and photos

Wed, Nov 08 2006 - 09:15 AM rating by rangutan

Short report for a big city but pretty well done.

Wed, Nov 08 2006 - 12:53 AM rating by eirekay

You've included some really terrific Photos!

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