3.5 day london itinerary

Mar 31st, 2011, 07:39 PM
  #1  
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3.5 day london itinerary

Hi all,

My fiance and I are traveling to London and Paris for our honeymoon in mid-April. We will be flying into Heathrow on a Monday morning and boarding the Eurostar for Paris on Friday morning of the same week. We are staying at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge on the South Bank.

We've come up with the following loose itinerary but think we might need some input on the timing. My fiance's greatest wish is to see Stonehenge, and we realize this will cut into some London time. I think we can manage to see most of what we want to see in London, but perhaps we are being too ambitious. Also, I realize there are usually mixed feelings about hop-on hop-off busses, but my thinking is that this will not only give us an overview of the city but also give us a chance to rest and get some sunlight after after our long flight. Any thoughts or advice would be great! Many thanks!

Monday
-land in London at 11:15 am
-head to hotel, check in, change
-head to Trafalgar square to get London hop-on hop-off pass
-Take hop-on hop-off tour one time around to get an overview of city (last tour at 3:50 pm)
-In the evening, casually explore around hotel area, zone 9 in particular (see outside of buckingham palace, st. james’s park, parliament, big ben, Westminster abbey, London eye, etc.)

Tuesday
-Use hop-on hop-off to explore further
-Do river boat tour if time (included in hop-on hop-off ticket)
- St. Paul cathedral (30 min-1 h, open 8:30am-4pm), Westminster Abbey (1.5-2 h, open 9:30am-last tour at 3:45 pm), Kennsington palace (1.5-2 h, open 10am-5pm)
-London eye in evening?

Wednesday
-Stonehenge- early AM through early afternoon
-National Gallery(open 10am-8pm)/National Portrait gallery(open10am-6pm)- afternoon to evening
-Covent garden

Thursday
-Tower of London in AM (3-4 h, open 9am-5pm)
-British Museum in afternoon (4-5 h, open 10am-5:30 pm)

Friday
-Leave early AM
kco530 is offline  
Mar 31st, 2011, 10:48 PM
  #2  
 
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I think you have a good schedule, although you are jumping around a bit on Tuesday. And after Stonehenge you may not feel like going to a museum and covent garden as its quite a long day.

I would double think the hop on hop off bus, its very expensive, gets stuck in traffic and its difficult to hear the guides. You would do better to use regular buses (cheaper and same views) and the tube to actually get to places you want to see. You could easily head to covent garden after Trafalgar Square the first day.

If you take the tube to St Pauls in the morning then walk to the river to catch the boat to Westminster pier you can see Westminster Abbey, walk through St James' park to see Buckingham Palace and then onto Kennsington Palace.
jamikins is offline  
Apr 1st, 2011, 03:21 AM
  #3  
 
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Many congrats and blessings!

I don't think much is too ambitious but--Again a very strong and loud Nay for the hoho bus. Really. You will find your time and money much better spent on your feet (or bus or tube) with a good map and a few guidebook ideas. If you go yourself to Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's, the Tower and the British Museum, then you will really have seen a lot of the "must-sees" and iconic places. Also the best thing to do when you get there is NOT ride something but walk around, in the daylight as you say.

Don't shortchange St. Paul's; leave at least 2 hours for it and walk up to the Golden Gallery and get a view of London from the dome! (No pix inside but you can use your camera from the Gallery)

So
Day 1--Walk to Trafalgar Square/Buckingham Palace/Whitehall/etc. And/or the Embankment area. And/or taking a boat cruise up and down the Thames is a great way to see the city. Covent Garden as jamikins says. You have plenty of daylight this day (provided no rain). Might even go in the National Gallery for a peek this day. Maybe a boat ride. Maybe the Eye this evening. Just see how you feel, when you actually get settled, what the weather is like, etc. But definitely stay outside and on your feet as much as you can, learning London with your eyes and map.

Day 2--Westminster Abbey in the morning (yes, allow at least 2 hours). Then St. Paul's in the afternoon--allow at least 2 hours once you get in. Walk up to the Gallery. Two huge churches in one day is a lot, but if these are your two main "things" it's doable and can provide a nice contrast. Then across the Milinneum Bridge to the South Bank--the Eye if you want and weather is fine.

(jamikins itinerary idea for that day would work too--I'd just rather start with the Abbey that day. But could take weather into account and if you plan to go to the Gallery see whether weather is to be better morning or afternoon. Taking a boat ride this day from the Abbey area to St. Paul's would work--but definitely walk across the Milinneum Bridge to Southbank area after--so that's another reason to do the Abbey first)

Day 3--I'd suggest you combine Stonehenge with Salisbury. Train to Salisbury, catch a bus (there was a tour called the Stonehenge Tour which we caught at the train station) to Stonehenge, see it (maybe an hour or so?), bus back to Salisbury, explore, see cathedral, train back. This will take all day.

Day 4--This works fine. Be at the Tower at opening. See Jewel Tower first. After some time at the BM, you might walk over to the British Library (open to 6) and see the Treasures Room--this would take maybe 90 minutes to get there and see some cool stuff briefly.

How are you getting from LHR? I'd suggest a car service like justairports--prompt and no luggage schlepping and cheaper than the express thing and easier than the tube. Have to pre-book.

You've obviously done some good thinking and planning. Good! Don't let anyone talk you out of going to Stonehenge (but maybe take the whole day) but please DO let us talk you out of hoho thing--use your time, energy, and obvious intelligence to make your own way--you'll get more out of it.
texasbookworm is offline  
Apr 1st, 2011, 05:27 AM
  #4  
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Wow...thank you so much. Your suggestions are so helpful.

Thank you for the suggestions regarding Stonehenge. I am glad that you think we can spend some time in Salisbury; we originally wanted to do so but didn't think we would have time for a full day.

For getting from LHR, we were just planning on taking the Piccadilly line towards Cockfosters, at Earls court change to the District line towards Barking or Upminster, and get off at Westminster (5 min walk from hotel). Thank you for the suggestion about the car service. It looks like we could do that for about £35 plus parking charge...something to think about!
kco530 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2011, 05:50 AM
  #5  
 
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Just a very quick note right now --

"For getting from LHR, we were just planning on taking the Piccadilly line towards Cockfosters, at Earls court change to the District line towards Barking or Upminster,"

It will be a LOT easier if you change to the District line at Hammersmith instead of Earl's court. You literally exit the train and walk a few paces across the same platform to the District line
janisj is offline  
Apr 1st, 2011, 06:00 AM
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You could also check out www.walks.com they do a really good day trip from London and it may fall on one of your days!
jamikins is offline  
Apr 1st, 2011, 06:03 AM
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Yes, listen to janisj if you decide on the Tube.

BUT I'd spend the money on a car service instead of the hoho bus; you'll arrive in about the same time or faster than the tube and much less harried. We've done both--the tube can be a great and cheap way, but we did that when we didn't have to change lines. You are I guess young and spry, but I don't know how much luggage you plan on and after all it is a honeymoon!
texasbookworm is offline  
Apr 1st, 2011, 06:06 AM
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Oh, and if you want to read about our day in Salisbury and Stonehenge, you can go to this link with my Trip Report

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-day-trips.cfm

And scroll down to Day 3

You may have plenty to do these last few days before The Event, but you might find how we did this trip helpful.
texasbookworm is offline  
Apr 1st, 2011, 06:11 AM
  #9  
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Thanks for the Tube tip. The directions I posted was just what the hotel suggested on their website.

Looks like there is a walks.com Stonehenge trip on our Tuesday. We will look into that. Thank you!
kco530 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2011, 06:13 AM
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We really enjoyed it and we always send our guests. Its not to have a guide to tell you things you may miss and take care of all the logistics. And its really affordable.

Enjoy and best wishes!
jamikins is offline  
Apr 1st, 2011, 06:38 AM
  #11  
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Oh--one other thing. With the things we want to see, is it worth it for us to get a bus pass or Tube pass of some sort, or should we pay as we go? I feel a little clueless about the transportation aspect of our trip...
kco530 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2011, 08:38 AM
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When you get to LHR, talk to agent at tube station; tell him/her your general plan and he/she will advise; I'd predict (but may be wrong) that an Oyster card with some money loaded onto it will be the best thing. OR an Oyster card with some one-day passes "loaded" onto it. There is the added confusion of going to a train station (NOT a tube office, but tubes and trains share station areas but I'm talking about going to the TRAIN ticket part) and purchasing PAPER one-day travel passes; such a paper ticket would entitle you to 2for1 admission to the Tower. But I might not mess with that. You COULD at LHR get Oyster cards, load them up with suggested amount for the travel you'd be doing for everyday except the Tower day, (if you mis-calculate you can easily add funds to it, and if you want to make the effort you can return the Oyster and get remaining funds on it refunded at the end of your time), and on Tower day go the day before or early day of to a TRAIN station (like Waterloo) and buy a one-day paper travel card and use the 2for1 voucher (which you print off at home before you leave the states).

The EASIEST thing is to just go to ticket office at LHR, ask agent about how much to load onto the plastic Oyster for your 4 days there (or 4.5 if you need tube to get to Eurostar, which I guess you do?) and put that amount on the Oysters. This is especially the best thing if you decide to ride the Tube into the city. The Oyster then is used on tube and bus.
texasbookworm is offline  
Apr 1st, 2011, 03:37 PM
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I'm planning our first trip to London, but I've traveled quite a bit to other cities so I just want to offer two general suggestions.

First, taking the tube from LHR after you've been flying all night, are jet-lagged, made it through customs, and found everything is a lot. Especially if you have to change trains more than once. It's easy to underestimate how pooped you can feel after you finally get out of airports. I'd keep that first day light and easy as possible - you can always do more, linger here or there, or explore somewhere unexpected.

Second, it is your honeymoon, and while it's fun to explore together, it's also great to give yourselves a lot of time to just chill. My husband and I have been married 12 years, and traveled quite a bit before then, so we've done a number of trips together here and abroad. Our best trips have consistently been those that we didn't have a big agenda. It's good to have two or three things you really want to see or do, but having the freedom to decide as you go is really phenomenal! If you plan a number of things and you don't get to them, it can be disappointing. It's the experience, not the sights, that you'll remember forever.

Enjoy and congratulations!
Aly_Scott is offline  
Apr 1st, 2011, 04:03 PM
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"I'm planning our first trip to London, but I've traveled quite a bit to other cities so I just want to offer two general suggestions." . . . "First, taking the tube from LHR after you've been flying all night, are jet-lagged, made it through customs, and found everything is a lot"

After you've been to London you will find that taking the tube is not difficult. For any destination along the Piccadilly or a few other areas the tube is flat easy. You get on at LHR and get off at your destination. Here on Fodors we can advise which stations to maybe avoid where the tube makes sense and where it doesn't.

Generally the two easiest ways to get into central London are the tube (flat cheap) - and - a pre-booked car service (much more expensive but often worth it)
janisj is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2011, 11:20 AM
  #15  
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Thanks all! I appreciate the advice!
kco530 is offline  
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