There are many projects that discuss using alternatives - such as a much more expensive Serial LCD (£10 up). Other projects discuss using two-wire interfaces, increasing the complexity of your code. The simplest way to drive the HD44780 style LCDs, in my opinion, is to use a 74HC595 shift register, taking the pin count down to 3.
In any case, connecting an LCD either using the 595 Shift Register or the more traditional way takes a lot of wiring which is not only a super mess (unless you use a ribbon cable I guess), it takes time.
This shield is simplifies this process - all that is required is power and three wires back to the Arduino - ie. connect the LCD in under 6 seconds!
Step 1: Required Components
1 x 74HC595 Shift Register
1 x BC547 NPN (or MOFSET or similar NPN)
1 x 10k Trimmer Potentiometer
6 x Male headers (I used right angle connectors)
16 x Female headers
Strip/Vero-board 17 strips x 13 holes (I used 15 for cable support)
Your soldering kit