Unity not doing it for you? Ubuntu 12.04 has a fallback mode which mimics Gnome 2 / Classic Gnome. Yay!
To install Gnome Classic/Fallback, install this package:
$ sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback
Classic panel applets are there. Virtual desktop are there. The standard Applications and Places menus are there.
Note: gnome-session-fallback has been part of Ubuntu since 11.10, as it is actually Gnome 3.