IEEE International Symposium on
Policies for Distributed Systems and Networks
Imperial College London, UK, 20-22 July 2009Room 311 Department of Computing, Huxley Building,
180 Queen's Gate, South Kensington SW7 2RH
The symposium will be held in the heart of London, on the South Kensington Campus of Imperial College London. The directions for reaching the college are available here. Also, a big thanks to Julie McCann for her help with information on London. This page lists some of London's highlights and they've been ordered under the following categories:
- History, Culture, Shopping and Pubs local to the Conference Venue
- London Sights and Sounds
- Getting about London
- London for Kids
We have not reserved a specific hotel for Policy 2009. The Imperial College accommodation office can book student halls or local hotels at a very good rate. We would recommend Southside Halls if you are happy with student style accommodation, as these are new with en-suite bathrooms.
Imperial College is roughly positioned in the south-west corner of London's zone one. This general area, known as South Ken, is rich and varied in terms of facilities and culture. Here you'll find many of London's museums, cultural venues, learned institutions as well as a strong European local population. For more general information please see:
Let's start with something that the UK and especially London is famous for; some nice pubs local to the College. We've chosen those that either sell decent beer/boozage or have a nice olde world look to them (or both):
- The Anglesea Arms
- The Queens Arms (this one is right beside the uni down a nice Mews street)
- The Zetland Arms
There are too many decent restaurants in the area to cover them all so we're just listing some that are within 4 minutes walk from the Conference venue (for a broader scope see):
- Med Kitchen (good for general European food)
- Bistro One Ninety Queen's Gate
- Pasha (beautiful place, one of the puddings has gold leaf in it!)
- Memories of India
- Launeston Place
- KhobKun (old fav of our research students-good value Thai)
- Da Mario (Princess Di went here! Nice Italian)
- Jakobs (makes a fine sandwich/salad - good value)
There is always something or the other happenning in London and sometimes it can be a bit hard to keep track. The web-site here lists the events (as much as possible) that are happenning in July, so you can add something else onto your conference visit, if you like ;).
Interesting Markets and
An alternative to shopping in the main shopping districts of Oxford St and Regent St is to grab a large coffee and browse around a flea market. Notting Hill's Portobello Road is probably London's most famous market. On Saturday mornings, vendors line the streets, hawking antiques—real and possibly dodgyish —music boxes, cheap jewellery, and vintage clothing etc. Notting Hill is a nice stroll across Hyde Park to get too.
Another interesting market, over in the eastend of London is Spitalfields Market. Here you'll find retro furniture, funky T-shirts, and trendy clothes by young designers etc. There are many eateries at the Liverpool St end of the market too. There are some interesting city walks around this area, usually starting about 6-7pm weekdays or on Sunday mornings.
If you wish to explore a truly eclectic market, then your choice is Camden Market (near the Camden Town Tube station).
Houses of Parliament and London Eye
The Houses of Parliament (Big Ben) and London Eye are very close to Westminster tube station. Many people (including those who live in London) don't realise that you can visit Parliament and watch the MPs in action). Nice area to have a walk around. From the London Eye you will really see London—views as far as 25 miles on a clear day - this is said to be the largest observation wheel in the world. Close by is the Duck Tours. They employ DUKWs, former WW II amphibious vehicles for land and water tours of the city (quite witty). If you are up for a longer stroll, stay on the south bank and walk to.....
St. Paul's Cathedral, Millennium
Bridge, Tate Modern and Shakespears Globe Theatre
St Paul's was built by Christopher Wren from 1675 to 1710, this Anglican cathedral offers inspiring views from atop the dome in the Golden Gallery—530 steps from ground level. It's hosted such notable events as the funeral of Winston Churchill and the wedding of Prince Charles of Wales and Lady Diana. The wibbly Millennium Bridge and Tate Modern Art Gallery. The Tate Modern, sister museum to the Tate Britain, presents 20th-century art in a cleverly transformed power station featuring lots of light and an entrance atrium big enough to hold monumental pieces. The Globe is a recreation of a playhouse from Shakespeare's day. The thatched roof, open-air venue starts its season in May. You can arrive early to tour the exhibits on costuming, special effects, and music in Shakespeare's era. It's also another nice area to walk around.
Like to Walk?
The conference venue is adjacent to Hyde Park, which offers very nice walks (hopefully, the weather stays true !!!). You can also take the tube to waterloo underground station and then walk along the south bank to the Tower Bridge. Also, during weekends, the City of London (financial district) is a ghost town. All concrete and not so good for the knees but some nice architecture. A good web-site for getting walking directions in London is Walkit.
Some Random stuff
So if you like royalty all that stuff is near Imperial (Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace etc). Fancy something a bit darker, try (Tower of London, The London Dungeon and the aforementioned Jack the Ripper walks).
The cheapest way to travel around London is to use the oyster card; it works on the Tube, busses and even some boat trips. It costs significantly higer to buy normal tickets. A good web-site for getting information about Travel in London is Transport for London (TFL). They also have a very nice journey planner. You can get a Tube map from all Tube stations. Also the Tube map is sometimes deceiving in that stations that look far from each other on the map are actually very close by in reality . So sometimes its quicker to walk. The most obvious one is the Covent Garden to Leicester Square.
If you are considering bringing the younger members of your family to London, the following is a list of activities and sites that might interest them. (the walking times are assuming toddler speed and are from Imperial College)
- Science Museum:- for toddlers Pattern Pod and Garden rooms. Kids will love the Launch Pad etc. and Teens also. For the Geeks (old and young) Computing exhibition. (2 minutes)
- Natural History Museum (3 minutes) anyone who loves dinosaurs, and for those that like mummies see the British Museum (tube ride 45mins)
- Local to Imperial is the V&A who host regular events for families (3 minutes)
- Teenagers will love the gore and scaryiness of the London Dungeon and London Bridge experiences (see darker London above) (Tube 45 mins - get a ticket online as the queue is terrible).
- Teenage shopping heaven in the Trocadero in Picadilly.
- For the teens who have studied Shakespeare's plays in school, watching a production in the reconstructed Shakespeare's Globe Theatre (see above) (tube 45mins)
Please note that bar special exhibitions the Museums in London are free!
We hope you will have a wonderful time in London !!!