London Lantern

Putting the Spotlight on London

Karen Loves London, And Asking Questions!

24/01/2002, By Karen

Reader Rating: 3 from 26622 votes


I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy The London Lantern. I wish I would have known about it last year, I went to England for four whole days, the closest thing I've had to a vacation in 23 years.

I was planning on returning in November. But, I'm having doubts now, all things considered. I did contact Scotland Yard to get their considered opinion as to anti-American sentiments.

They were ever so quick and helpful with the barrage of questions I sent along, and told me to come on over.

I was also glad to see many of your readers went ahead with their trips to your fantastic city. WOW do I LOVE LONDON. What an awesome city!!! I can't wait to return.

I'm wondering if you could enlighten me on a few things.

I'll be travelling alone (scary) this time, is it considered rude to read while you're eating at a public place? What is "bubble and squeak" and "clotted cream" (boy, that doesn't sound too appetising) and lastly what exactly is a" full English breakfast"?

I do hope to eat at Porters, I've been printing out the money saving coupons from your website.

Can you recommend a financially reasonable place to "do" Tea? I checked with the Ritz and they want 27 pounds, Ouch! I'm sure it would be a Tea to remember but, not quite with in my budget.

Thanks for your time and patience. Karen


Thank you for your kind words. Certainly at the moment London seems so normal that you cannot believe that there could be any crisis on; I was outside the Houses of Parliament today, stopped and had a chat with an MP and a peer in the street, in beautiful sunshine as well.

If you are travelling on your own, it is perfectly normal to read while you are having a meal. Bubble and squeak is made from mixed vegetables and potato, made into flat cakes and fried. Clotted cream is heated thick cream, just enough until it sets, then it is cooled and served; it is absolutely delicious. Full English breakfast is just the whole works: cereal, eggs and bacon, toast & marmalade, pot of tea, etc.

Tea is a meal that the English normally seldom eat these days, its appeal seems to be mainly for tourists, so my advice would be to forget it, though we do serve an excellent and reasonably priced one at Porters, from only 3.95, I hope that we see you there during your trip.

Best wishes, Richard

Rate this article: [-]  1 2 3 4 5 [+] 

More Articles  | Log in to Have Your Say

Re: Karen Loves London, And Asking Questions!

By Jennifer 04/02/2002, (Rating: 2.9 from 24896 votes)

Dear Karen, As an American whose been to the UK four times, (the fifth being this November too!) let me give you a few words of advice. I think the world over loves travelers, hates tourists. It's a mindset, whether you're an American or Canadian, Aussie, et al., and with the exception of places that really hate us, the Brits are no more anti-American than any of the other places that tires of hordes of tourists traipsing through sacred sites, making rude comments and sticking old chewing gum on monuments. If you act polite and genuinely interested, only the most nasty characters will treat you shabbily, and those types usually treat everyone badly, even if they're members of their own family! And if your concern is Muslim/ Arabic citizens in the UK, I'm sure that they are minding their P's and Q's and their own business like anyone else. The only person looking to harass a traveler would do it regardless of 9/11. So if a Muslim and/or Arab harasses you, call the police, as you would on anyone that harasses you. I have to be rude to Richard though. I used to have friends in Scotland and they were always having tea and not for my sake! So it's not purely a touristy institution, there are those in the hinterlands that enjoy a bit of the tradition, and most likely, the relaxation and social setting. I've not yet done Tea or Porters, but hope to this November. It'll be four of us, two first timers and two seasoned Londonphiles. As much as I love London, Karen, I recommend trying to do one day outside the city. On this jaunt we'll be going to Ludlow, over America's Thanksgiving weekend. It's their annual Renaissance Faire, something we're greatly looking forward to going to. It's in a castle, so how's that for cool? As far as the travelling alone part, unless you were born & raised in a small town in the U.S., London is no more scary than any of our major cities, and I live in one and have been to two others (Chicago & NYC). So if you can find your way around (incredibly easy with the Tube) and you don't give money to panhandlers, and try not to stray off the beaten path after dark, you'll be fine. Trust me, been there, done that. Maybe we'll see you in November!

Rate this response: [-] 1 2 3 4 5 [+] 

Log in to Respond

Re: Karen Loves London, And Asking Questions!

By Amanda 02/07/2002, (Rating: 2.9 from 24786 votes)

Jennifer has some very sound advice. My husband and I were in London last year in July 2001 and had a fabulous time! We also rented a car and took a day trip up to Northamptonshire to visit Althorp, Princess Diana's ancestral home and burial place. I would highly recommend that side trip - everything was gorgeous there and very tastefully done. Diana would be proud of how her brother has handled things. It was not "touristy" at all and the workers there couldn't have been more gracious. We also discovered a wonderful restaurant in the country called The Dusty Fox, which offered great atmosphere, a very good ale and wine list and rather sophisticated fare. We plan to return to London again, but also plan to travel to the countryside for a longer amount of time. Having done both I feel I can genuinely recommend the country to you, also, it's charming and really fabulous.

Rate this response: [-] 1 2 3 4 5 [+] 

Log in to Respond

Re: Karen Loves London, And Asking Questions!

By John 04/02/2002, (Rating: 2.9 from 25025 votes)

The Earl is almost correct. Do a search using Google and you will find out how it is made. Simple is better.

Rate this response: [-] 1 2 3 4 5 [+] 

Log in to Respond

Re: Karen Loves London, And Asking Questions!

By Lea Insley 04/02/2002, (Rating: 2.9 from 25028 votes)

Afternoon Tea is not dead!

I'm English - and I still keep the tradition (and I'm barely 30, so it's not my age that's talking). We've always eaten Tea in our family, and life wouldn't be the same without it.

It's not something I would do on a daily basis - but certainly on weekends. We regularly have buttered crumpets or muffins (what you would call English muffins), or hot buttered toast, sometimes sandwiches, followed by homemade cakes and/or biscuits.

It's an ideal meal when you've eaten a large Roast Dinner with all the trimmings at lunchtime, and by 4 or 5 o'clock are just a bit peckish, but not really hungry.

Alternatively, in summer we often have a cream tea instead. Traditionally made with strawberry jam and cream, but better with raspberry jam and clotted cream (my opinion). It's very nice with fresh strawberries too.

Clotted cream is fantastic! You might think it looks a little unappetising, as the heating process used to create it means that a yellowish lumpy 'crust' is formed on the top. However, do not be afraid to try it. You will not be disappointed. It does not taste sour in any way. It is heaven on a scone.

I have eaten at Porters restaurant - what a great place. Unfortunately, we managed to visit on a stiflingly hot August day, and the air conditioning left a lot to be desired (my husband eventually gave up his quest for ice cream as it kept melting before it reached the table). However, the food is of very good quality, it really is traditionally English, and is immensely good value for money. The burnt Trinity coffee cream is a must try. Just make sure you go on a nice cool day. Then you'll appreciate the pies and puddings all the more.

Most traditional English food is best appreciated on cold, wet and windy days. It's because we have so many of them. Try keeping out the cold with a nice spotted dick....(steamed suet pudding with raisins, best served with custard).

Rate this response: [-] 1 2 3 4 5 [+] 

Log in to Respond

Re: Karen Loves London, And Asking Questions!

By Richard, 7th Earl of Bradford 06/02/2002, (Rating: 2.9 from 24888 votes)

Lea is the exception rather than the rule, but I am delighted that she is upholding tradition.

I am sorry that she visited Porters on a day when we obviously had a problem with the air-conditioning, normally it works brilliantly in the hottest of weather, in fact people tend to tumble in and breathe a sigh of relief!!

Rate this response: [-] 1 2 3 4 5 [+] 

Log in to Respond

Re: Karen Loves London, And Asking Questions!

By Rebecca 07/02/2002, (Rating: 2.9 from 25062 votes)

We visited London in October 2001, just 6 weeks after September 11th. We had no problems whatsoever. We noticed how, everywhere we went, they searched everyone's bags, and used a handwand. We saw one anti-American demonstration. We just walked around it. No problem. As for tea....we did go to the Ritz! It was spectacular! I would highly recommend saving your pennies and going! It is beautiful, the food is wonderful, and the staff attentive! It was one of the highlights of our trip!

Rate this response: [-] 1 2 3 4 5 [+] 

Log in to Respond

Repeated Posting

By Rebecca 07/02/2002, (Rating: 2.9 from 24821 votes)

Rate this response: [-] 1 2 3 4 5 [+] 

Log in to Respond

Re: Karen Loves London, And Asking Questions!

By Charles 10/02/2002, (Rating: 2.9 from 25096 votes)

I have been fortunate to visit England on a yearly basis for the last 7 years and continue to cherish the experiences. I typically travel alone and have met numerous singles both male and female. The indication I have is that we all have felt quite safe in London or anywhere else in England for that matter. Many people have gone out of their way to assist and guide me.

Rate this response: [-] 1 2 3 4 5 [+] 

Log in to Respond

Re: Karen Loves London, And Asking Questions!

By Dave Thatcher 13/02/2002, (Rating: 2.9 from 25005 votes)

In response to Karen, indeed to anyone wishing to visit England, do so. With regard to current concerns about how safe it is in London, it is as safe as any City, you just use common sense as to where you would wander, just like back home.

But don't just look around London, there are many places to visit well within a day trip from London, many reached by public transport. Use the trains for journeys a little further out as the traffic is horrendous in and around central London and many suburbs, in and out of the so called rush hour [there is no rush hour, it goes on most of the day]

Two places of interest to visit in one day that are very close to each other are.......Winston Churchill's home Chartwell close to Westerham in Kent & Hever Castle near Edenbridge Kent. These two however would best be visited by car, as they are a few miles from the train stations.

Traffic permitting, you should be able to drive from Central London to these places in around 2 hours
Hever Castle [once the home of Anne Boleyn one of Henry the V111's wives] is not a castle in the true sense of the word, but a truly wonderful property set in beautiful landscaped grounds. In the summer many varied events take place there, well worth a visit, all the better if the sun is shining.

P.S. Don't forget to visit a typical English country pub on your journey, they are also a good place to eat cheaply.

Have a good time.

Dave Thatcher.

Rate this response: [-] 1 2 3 4 5 [+] 

Log in to Respond

Re: Karen Loves London, And Asking Questions!

By Beverly 01/06/2002, (Rating: 2.9 from 24810 votes)

I love London too! We are going for Christmas for our second trip. The last time was before 9/11, but I am so excited to be going for 16 whole days and I don't foresee any problems. We are also visiting Ireland and Scotland. I always have Tea even here in sunny California and I am 100% American. The last time in London was at Selfridges Hotel (just okay). We intend to have tea at Browns Hotel this time around. I haven't eaten at too many of the restaurants because my daughter has severe food allergies, although I intend to try Porters. We have rented a flat in South Kensington so I will have facilities for cooking. I will live like the natives and soak up everything and look forward to the great museums and hopefully Harrods after Christmas sale. I also will also cut back on food expenses by getting take away items from the markets. I love the local Sainsbury’s and Waitrose (a little more costly). London is a marvellous place to be and I'm already planning my trip for 2003!

Rate this response: [-] 1 2 3 4 5 [+] 

Log in to Respond

Re: Karen Loves London, And Asking Questions!

By Patricia Theodorou 14/04/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 24453 votes)

English tea dead? Sorry Richard, cant agree! Not only do we have friends round for tea on Sundays from time to time (mainly in the colder months)and do it properly with buttered crumpets and home made cakes but during the summer months visit gardens open under the auspices of The National Garden Scheme on just about every Sunday. We only visit gardens which are serving tea, usually made by the local Womens Institute and my husband rates them out of 10 and generally remembers the teas if not the gardens. A great tradition and apart from Browns in London I can recommend The Randolph Hotel in Oxford and I strongly suggest that summer visitors visit a Cotswold village where the gardens are open and try the local teas. Yummy! (Look in the latest 'Yellow Book' as its known,available at any good bookshop).

Rate this response: [-] 1 2 3 4 5 [+] 

Log in to Respond

Re: Karen Loves London, And Asking Questions!

By Patricia Theodorou 14/04/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 24485 votes)

A full English breakfast consists of the following: any combinaton of:

Bacon
eggs , served in various ways but usually fried unless speicified otherwise
sausage
tomato
mushrooms
baked beans
hash browns
fried bread
usually you can specify what you want fromthis list and can all or some of them. This is usually served with toast and is followed by more toast and jams. and you can start with cereals or porridge (in some places)

but please please dont ask for a full English Breakfast then push it around on your plate and leave it! Unless of course its not well cooked, in which case you have every right and should say something!

As someone who took bed and breakfast guests in my own home (a Cotswold cottage and rated Highly Commended by Tourist board)I and other ladies who did the same were extremely worried by this almost exclusively American behaviour. I have never been to the States but am told by friends who spend time there and by English people who live there that a lot of food is wasted. In England we are never comfortable with wasting either food or energy and it may help our friends from 'across the pond' to be aware of this. It may also help to note that this same breakfast can also be known as a Full Scottish breakfast when north of the border but with some extra additions and especially porridge, a Full Welsh breakfast (beware Welsh butter,its wonderfully rich)and I'm sure the same applies to Ireland too.
It sets you up for the day and you shouldnt need any lunch after that...but at tea time...well, thats worth waiting for...

Rate this response: [-] 1 2 3 4 5 [+] 

Log in to Respond

Re: Karen Loves London, And Asking Questions!

By eabarnet@yahoo.com 12/06/2004, (Rating: 2.9 from 24376 votes)

Karen, I believe a full English Breakfast consist of eggs, bacon (or some type of breakfast meat), with beans (pork and beans it's called in the state), with toast, marmalade, jam, coffee or tea...everything! I think clotted cream comes in varying thicknesses. It can be purchased in England in the dairy section of the supermarkets. Great on fresh fruits such as strawberries! Probably very fattening! But, delicious!

Rate this response: [-] 1 2 3 4 5 [+] 

Log in to Respond

Site Search


Our Site Web

Back Issues

Select Issue

 

Our Guides

Book Online

Polls

What is your favourite place to visit in London


Results | Other polls


Sponsors