Geeking out in London

I have been doing some traveling the past few months. In April I went to London with friends. Our main purpose was L’Arc~en~Ciel’s concert, as London was one of the stops on their world tour. But clearly we ended up doing more than that! So here is a bit of a travel report and some geeky tips for geeky travelers.

One place I can never resist visiting when I’m in a big city is the Hard Rock Café. I just can’t resist the food, the atmosphere, looking at all the rock props..! I must admit while I love the London location (staff is friendly and food is tasty!) they were not my favourite. I’ve visited quite a few HRC’s (told ya, can’t resist)… Amsterdam, Berlin, Dublin, Prague, all locations in Japan… and my favourites were probably Fukuoka and Amsterdam. Nonetheless, the HRC London is near Hyde Park so when there’s no queue, do check it out for tasty food!

Then, as Sherlock Holmes fans, we had to visit the museum at 221B Baker Street. It was extremely crowded and perhaps a bit tourist trap-y, but enjoyable enough.

The next stop wasn’t on our list of geeky-things-to-do-in-London (so obviously the list was flawed) but when we saw it nothing could stop us: The Shakespeare Globe Theatre. So interesting! The museum part was incredibly fascinating in itself and during the tour we loved seeing the theatre itself. Sadly the season for plays hadn’t started yet so we couldn’t actually watch a play, but that’s very high up on my list for next time. (As for Shakespeare in general: The British Museum will have a Shakespeare exhibition from July 19-November 25 this year! Go go go!)

Our main reason to be in London was L’Arc~en~Ciel’s concert at Indigo2, as mentioned before. The band was having a collaboration with a Hawaiian burger restaurant: Kua’aina. Ok, not actually very geeky, but I am still tagging them because their burgers are amazing (and I am generally not very much into burgers!). At the restaurant we just so happened to sit next to Doctor Who actor Tommy Campbell, who then suggested to us we should head to the concert hall by… boat. Best idea ever, so we arrived at the concert in style.

My final geeky destination was the Film Museum. I visited the South Bank location, but after returning I found out there’s another location in Covent Garden. Which must be visited next time. Anyway, I managed to spend quite some time at the museum. They had a few interesting exhibitions, such as the “Ray Harryhausen – Myths and Legends” exhibition showing the techniques used, background information etc. If anything, the location itself was also interesting. I managed to get myself lost on the way out…

Of course, theatre geeks must absolutely go see a musical or play in London. If you’re tired of the Phantom of the Opera (but how could you?) there is still plenty to see. I recommend checking out Theatre Monkey’s guide before you go.

Other things you cannot miss:

  • Forbidden Planet, a cult entertainment/sci-fi megastore. Your stop for geeky goods! It is walkable from Picadilly, Leicester Square and Tottenham Court Rd. Also double-check their book section: you can find a lot of signed books!
  • Skoob Books, selling used books. The store itself is quite wonderful, but I can especially recommend checking out their warehouse catalogue! You can ask them to fetch you books which you can check out when you visit. And trust me, they’re really selling some nice editions!
  • The British Library occasionally has extremely interesting exhibitions! I visited their ‘Out of this world’ exhibition on science fiction a year ago and it must have been one of my favourite exhibitions ever. and they had a marvellous exhibition displaying manuscripts after that which I sadly had to miss. Definitely worth to see if there’s an exhibition before you go. (And their store is book lover heaven!)

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