1st day in London

Jun 24th, 2009, 06:06 PM
Original Poster
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1st day in London

We will be honeymooning in London for 5 days in November. Our Virgin Atlantic flight leave Chicago Sunday night around 7:00 pm and gets to London at about 9 am Monday morning.

I am starting to think about putting together an itinerary, and wondering how bad jetlag might be the first day. I keep thinking that if we sleep on the plane, it will be just like waking up at home, but magically we are in England!

Should we keep the first day light in terms of outside activities? Should we turn in early or stay awake as long as possible the first day?

No honeymoon jokes please

Cadgirl is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 06:10 PM
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Should we keep the first day light in terms of outside activities?

YES. that means NO heavy-duty museums. Small galleries are okay, but even better would be walking in the beautiful parks in London or along the Thames, perhaps London Eye around sunset if weather is nice.

Should we turn in early or stay awake as long as possible the first day?

Try to stay up until close to bedtime. I am a napper, so I usually take a 2 hour nap during the day. If you go to bed too early, you may find yourselves awake at 2am and can't go back to sleep.

Just FYI, while your flight gets in at 9am, by the time you get through immigration, get your bags, head into town, check-in... it'll be at least 11am or later.
yk is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 06:28 PM
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"it will be just like waking up at home, but magically we are in England!"

OK - now that we got that out of the way . . . yk gives good advice. If the weather is at all decent I personally like to stay outdoors all day. Even eating outdoors if possible. If the weather is horrible - then I head to small quiet museums and such.

and the 11:00 is pretty optimistic. W/ a 9:00 arrival, I'd not count on checking in to your hotel until around noon, if your room is ready. If it isn't. you can leave your bags and head out.

I try to eat around 8:00 PM on day one and try to stay up until 10-ish.
janisj is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 07:42 PM
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janis and yk know what they're talking about. Jet lag affects everyone differently; I'm not a napper at all, so I just freshen up as soon as possible, then force myself to stay up until a normal bedtime (10 or so). Usually the next day I'm fine. A little tired, maybe, but not bad. If the weather's nice, definitely stay out and walk around - you can see a lot in a short time walking in London. If it's not nice, small galleries like yk mentioned could be good, or I'd also suggest the British Library. It's small enough to not be overwhelming, but has some really interesting things.
jent103 is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 07:53 PM
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BTW, cadgirl, I've done a lot of crazy things on arrival days in London when I was in my 20s and early 30s (I've gone to London a lot during those years). From heading to blockbuster art exhibitions, to attending a play at night, to going to the Opera... you name it, I've done it. All I can say is that I have very, very vague memories of all those things I did in my jet-lagged state.

So, if you want to visit a museum or gallery on arrival day, that's fine; but pick a place that's free and aim for an hour at most there. And don't expect to remember much...
yk is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 06:21 AM
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I'm another who can say I've done a lot of things while jetlagged, and it CAN be done, but oiy vey. Just remember that sleeping on an airplane is not the wonderful, restful sleep you get at home. Yeah, you may sleep (and you may not) but it's often a light, often interrupted sleep. Have either of you been on an overnight flight before? Everyone reacts differently... I sleep very well on planes, but my mom can't sleep at all.

Also, if you're on your honeymoon is this immediately after the wedding? If it is, you'll likely be tired anyway from all that's involved in that. Get married on Saturday, likely stay up very late, get up on Sunday for family stuff and leave Sunday evening for an overnight flight, wake up in London and go like crazy as soon as you hit the ground? Yikes!

Getting out of the airport will take a while, so you may want to think about getting to your hotel and taking a shower and having a good lunch. Go do things that you're interested in, but aren't your absolute favorites so you don't miss out if you're a little spacey. You can always do more once you get there, just plan on doing less and you may be pleasantly surprised. Stay awake until 9 or 10pm (no naps or a single short nap) and you'll sleep well and wake up the next morning ready to have a great time.

Congrats and have fun
Iowa_Redhead is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 07:36 AM
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Good advice above. We think it's best to be flexible that first day and don't make any major commitments. Jet lag not only affects people differently, it's affected us differently on different trips, depending on how tired we are when we leave, how much sleep we can actually manage, etc.

As many times as we've been to London, one thing we like to do arrival day if weather is nice is walk around the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the Westminster Abbey area, get some sandwiches at a sandwich shop (like Pret a Manager) and picnic in Victoria Tower Gardens next to Parliament. Or wander in the area around your hotel to get your bearings and just explore the city.
dfr4848 is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 07:44 AM
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Where are you staying?
Cholmondley_Warner is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 08:01 AM
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"depending on how tired we are when we leave,"

Very good point, dfr. If this honeymoon trip is, indeed, right after the wedding, you may find yourselves pretty exhausted when you leave, Cadgirl. Which I guess could work in your favor if it helps you to sleep on the plane. But you just never know.

I strongly agree with the advice to be flexible and not make any concrete plans for that day. I think what you do about sleep that first day also depends a lot on what kind of sleeper you are. If, like yk, you're normally a napper, you may well we better off taking an hour or two nap. The key is whether you can force yourself to get up after the nap. If so, it may help you to stay up a little later. As she said, going to bed too early can result in waking in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep. Which is exactly what happened to me about three weeks ago!
CAPH52 is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 08:02 AM
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Great advice above! I do want to ask as well where are you staying as that will help give suggestions. Every time I've traveled to London (about 10 times in the last 6 years) I've been fortunate enough to stay in Central London, within walking distance of Trafalgar Square (Charing Cross/Embankment underground station area). I find this is a great part of London to be on your first day there, as there is so much to see within a short walking distance...even if the weather is not perfect, you'll be energized by the energy of that part of town and all the classic London sights that you can get to within just a matter of minutes stroll (Parliament/Big Ben, the river Thames, Trafalgar, even Buckingham Palace). And if you're not staying within walking distance of this central area, then depending on how tired you are it may be worth taking a taxi ride out to Covent Garden for an evening stroll and people watching instead and saving the heavy-duty walking for the next day once you're fully rested!

Have fun and congrats on your marriage!
sandrabalboa is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 03:03 PM
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Thanks everyone.

I will definitely keep the first day low key.

For those who asked, we are staying the Grand at Trafalgar Square.
Cadgirl is offline  
Jun 26th, 2009, 03:46 AM
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That's as central as can be. Don't forget to factor in the weather. Sitting in a park in a downpour isn't a lot of fun.

The National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery are on your doorstep if you need an indoor option on your first day.

Or a stroll down Whitehall to Big Ben, Westminster Abbey if it's fine.
Cholmondley_Warner is offline  
Jun 26th, 2009, 03:55 AM
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When I've gone with others who'd never been to London including my 80-something mother, I take them on the hop on, hop off bus the first day but we don't hop off.
SallyCanuck is offline  

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