4 Days in London and questions

Apr 7th, 2011, 10:11 AM
  #1  
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4 Days in London and questions

I would like some help with our plan for London. we have never been and want to see the most with the amount of time we have. We will have 4 full days in London and here are the list of places we want to go:
British Museum
Tower of London
Big Ben
Parliament
Westminster Abby
St. Paul cathedral
Buckingham
And some unique shopping streets.
If there is a place that you think we should see while we are there and i have miss please let me know.
We are staying near the Earl's court tube station and we are planing on buying an oyster card. Please help us schedule what we should do on what days and tube stations near by.
Open to suggestions!
Lindad17 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 10:24 AM
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First thing: get a map and familiarize yourself with the general layout. This will help you figure out your plan before you get there *and* feel more confident when you're actually there.

You actually have time to do more if you like, I think, though it depends on how full you like to make your days. I've grouped your list and added suggestions in parentheses.

British Museum (British Library is also nearby, as is Covent Garden; for shopping, you'll be nearer Camden Market than you would be on any other day, but whether you'd like that depends on what you mean by "unique" shopping streets)

Tower of London (get there when it opens)
St Paul's
(cross the river at Millennium Bridge and walk along the South Bank, see the Globe Theatre and get a great view of other landmarks)

Big Ben/Parliament (five minutes, unless you want to sit in on a session of Parliament, assuming it's in session)
Westminster Abbey
Buckingham Palace (again five minutes, unless you'll be there at a time when you can tour the building)
(Trafalgar Square, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery)
(walk down Piccadilly - Fortnum & Mason may fit your "unique shopping", again depending on what you mean)

Then you've still got a full day. Are you interested in any theatre? Any other museums? The Victoria & Albert is one of my favorites, but it's not near anything else on your list.
jent103 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 10:31 AM
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You can easily get to all those places (and probably more) in 4 days.

Big Ben, Parliament and Buckingham Palace are basically 'walk by's' so you don't need to schedule them. You'll see them in your comings and goings. In fact Big Ben and Parliament are across the street from Westminster Abbey.

Plan two major sites a day (the Tower and St Pauls; Westminster Abbey and the Cabinet War Rooms or something else; British Museum and maybe the British Library; etc.) and you'll have time to squeeze in shopping/other sites some days.

There are sooooo many other great sites - so what sorts of things interest you?
janisj is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 10:32 AM
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didn't see jent's post . . .
janisj is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 10:45 AM
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Oh, yes, the Cabinet War Rooms! I forgot about that but also recommend it if you're at all interested in history.
jent103 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 11:07 AM
  #6  
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Thanks for your suggestions so far. We are major history buffs and can't want to visit the British museum, the Cabinet War Rooms sounds like something my husband would love. My teenager wants to do a Harry Potter tour and I would like to take the Jack the Ripper tour.My teenager and I would love to go to Hampton Court, but don't know how hard transportation would be to get out there.

Our major interests be history the most, we love to experience the true culture of London, and we just want to have some fun.

What are the tube stations near all these sites. We are going to be very new to the public transportation thing and are kind of nervous about getting lost.

We appreciate all the advice very much!
Lindad17 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 11:24 AM
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Transit is very easy to Hampton Court - its in zone 6 and you take the train from waterloo.

Based on what you are doing you may want to forgo the oyster and buy a paper travel card from a train station to take advantage of 2for1 deals. www.daysoutguide.co.uk You can only get these deals with the paper travel cards, not the travel cards on the oyster.

Definitely get a map - that will show you all the tube stops as well. And you can get transit maps and journey planners at www.tfl.gov.uk
jamikins is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 11:27 AM
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"I would like to take the the Jack the Ripper tour. My teenager and I would love to go to Hampton Court, but don't know how hard transportation would be to get out there."

Jack the Ripper tour

Hampton Court


Sorry, but the Jack the Ripper tour is not a good choice IMO (and a few Fodorites will tell you why it is a good idea-- so you can make up your own mind). There is not one single original site remaining -- you'll get a lot of >>that car park is where yada yada yada happened<< and >>over under the foundations of the block of flats is where the body of xyz was found <<. The tours can be massive (150+ people) wandering through an area and disturbing the residents. And do you really want your son listening to stories about women being disemboweled??

Hampton Court Palace onn the other hand (of course Henry VIII had his own 'woman problems' ) is ENTIRELY worth it.

Getting there or anywhere else is very easy -- you can take the train (30 mins) to Hampton Court and either the train back - or if the weather is nice you can take a boat back. But the boat ride takes approx 3 hours so in your time frame maybe not the best use of time.

the tube is a piece of cake and from earls Court you can get to many sites w/o a change of tube lines. The Tower, Westminster, British Museum, Cabinet War Rooms, Buckingham Palace and lots of others are on direct lines from EC.
janisj is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 11:41 AM
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I would highly recommend picking up the on/off bus tour for London(usually around Victoria Station and other points).It really gives you a great overview if you have never been to London and you can get on and off at anything that you want to stop at for a brief visit-the other sights I would just use your Oyster Card.
I stay near the Glouester Road tube station for work every month which Earl's Court is on.It is perfect for getting to Heathrow and back up to alot of the main places you would like to go to on the Picadilly Line such as Covent Garden or Russell Square for the British Museum.
My son lives in London and it is a wonderful place to visit with people that will stop and help you if you need directions,etc.The underground is VERY easy to use so don't worry-just watch your purses when traveling because unfortunately there are pickpockets in crowds(as in every city).
The Cabinet War rooms with the Churchill Museum is interesting so please include it in your itinerary-my family loved it!
Walk through Harrods department store just to see the food halls-amazing!
Walk around Covent Garden area-just because there is so much always going on.
Catch a play or musical-some of our favs(because I am NOT really into musicals) have been Lion King;Jersey Boys and Priscilla,Queen of the Desert.
Just spend an evening meal at a pub and people watch-great fun!
I could go on and on but just have fun and enjoy!
dutyfree is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 11:42 AM
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There are a couple of Harry Potter walks. I believe they're on Sundays and Mondays. For more information check www.walks.com. I'm also of the opinion that the Jack the Ripper walks are a huge waste of time. There are many wonderful walks available, Jack the Ripper just isn't one of them.

As already mentioned, Hampton Court Palace is one of the easiest and best trips from London.
historytraveler is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 12:41 PM
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Oops sorry - I neglected to turn off the italics. This may make a bit more sense . . .

>>Sorry, but the Jack the Ripper tour is not a good choice IMO (and a few Fodorites will tell you why it is a good idea-- so you can make up your own mind). There is not one single original site remaining -- you'll get a lot of >>that car park is where yada yada yada happened<< and >>over under the foundations of the block of flats is where the body of xyz was found <<. The tours can be massive (150+ people) wandering through an area and disturbing the residents. And do you really want your son listening to stories about women being disemboweled??

Hampton Court Palace on the other hand (of course Henry VIII had his own 'woman problems' ) is ENTIRELY worth it.

Getting there or anywhere else is very easy -- you can take the train (30 mins) to Hampton Court and either the train back - or if the weather is nice you can take a boat back. But the boat ride takes approx 3 hours so in your time frame maybe not the best use of time.

the tube is a piece of cake and from earls Court you can get to many sites w/o a change of tube lines. The Tower, Westminster, British Museum, Cabinet War Rooms, Buckingham Palace and lots of others are on direct lines from EC.
janisj is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 02:11 PM
  #12  
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My first question Is about getting to Hampton Court, if I we was to buy an oyster card does it cover the train out there or wouldni have to buy different tickets?

I have another question, I know that there are admission fees to get in to places like Hampton Court and The Tower of London, would you recommend buying them online or buying the tickets when we get there? Also I have been reading about getting a family membership that get us admission 5 place( which includes Hampton Court and The Tower of London) , is that I good option?

I hope my questions arent too silly.
Lindad17 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 02:23 PM
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You will likely have a zone 1-2 pass on your oyster. You will need an extension to zone 6 - just go buy an extension at the ticket booth at waterloo.

Like I said above - instead of getting an oyster look into getting paper travel cards form the train stations. they are good on the tube and buses as well and will get you 2for1 on many sites (see the link I posted above) including the Tower and Hampton Court (subject to changes - the offers are all dated but have been extended since I moved here in 2007). They are the same price, but oysters will not get you the specials.

You would still need an extension if you get a travel card on oyster or the paper one (same product, just two different vehicles).

Compare that to the membership and I think you will find this way is cheaper.
jamikins is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 02:26 PM
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Sorry - if you are using pay as you go oyster then you just need to ensure you have enough on the card (ask at the ticket booth if you are unsure) and remember to tap in and out at hampton court.

I meant the paper travel card and the oyster travel card are the price/product, just two different vehicles for using them.
jamikins is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 03:14 PM
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Listen to janisj and jamikins--they know London.

Go get a good map of London at a book store and pour over it; you also might try walkit.com and go to the London page to plan walking routes; and/or use something like googlemaps to see general areas and relative distances.

It's good to not have an unreasonable and un-do-able amount of "want-to's" on your list. I'd suggest you keep the ones you have--they are the tops ones in my opinion. Allow, as it seems you are, PLENTY of time for each (all those major "go-inside" ones need 2-3 hours at a minimum) as well as remember how spread out London is and 1.group your sites and 2.allow for transport time.

I'd include the British Library after the British Museum.

We LOVED the Imperial War Museum (which is across the Thames but not too far--across Westminster Bridge).

We enjoyed Greenwich which might be possible to get to after a half day at Hampton Court. I'd totally support suggestions to go to Hampton Court if you want to do a half-day trip (over Greenwich). There really is plenty to keep you busy in London but Hampton Court is great, too.
texasbookworm is online now  
Apr 7th, 2011, 05:05 PM
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Hampton Court is easy. Go to Waterloo station, get tickets on the train to Hampton Court, take to last stop, get out, walk to Palace. Repeat in reverse to get back to London.

Go to daysoutguide.co.uk to print 2for1 vouchers for Hampton Ct Palace. Take with you and present at the ticket booth with your rail tickets and you get in free with hubby's admission. Don't pre-purchase for HCP.

I'm thinking txbook meant Greenwich would NOT be possible to get to after a 1/2 day at HCP -- completely different side of London from each other.

P.S. -- when Jamikins says "train stations" she does NOT mean Underground stations (the "Tube"), she means the national rail stations, of which there are nine main terminals in London (Paddington, Euston, Kings Cross, St. Pancras, Liverpool Street, London Bridge, Charing Cross, Waterloo, Victoria).

P.P.S. -- even though this is geared toward hotels, this is a good online map for central London and shows the nearby Tube stations for whatever you want to see: http://www.hotelmap.com/hotelmap/?pro=M5X7V
BigRuss is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 06:29 PM
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Hampton Court Palace is wonderful--both the Palace and the Gardens are great. It is very easy to get to by train as others have said. If you happen to be there when they are doing the live kitchen demonstrations, it is fabulous. My son loved it. We spent most of the day there.

If you are a history buff, don't miss the Cabinet War Rooms and also the Imperial War Museum. At the Cabinet War Rooms we spent about 2 hours and the IWM was another almost full day. London has wonderful museums. The British Museum is great with all the artifacts collected by the British Empire over centuries. The National Gallery is another great museum too.

The Cabinet War Rooms are right across from Westminster Abbey.

If you did a half day at Hampton Court, I think when you get back to Waterloo you are not too far from the Imperial War Museum--check closing times though since both places demand a good amount of time to fully appreciate.
europeannovice is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 07:17 PM
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I enjoyed a few hours at the Imperial War Museum recently, but would tend to think it would not be a priority if it's a first trip and you only have four days. Found the staff very helpful, the large exhibits not quite as numerous or interesting as I expected (granted there's only so much that can be displayed), the Secret War exhibition fascinating and the Blitz experience pretty lame.
farrermog is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 07:45 PM
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Yes, BigRuss is right--I didn't proofread well! Greenwich could take only a half day, as would Hampton Court, but didn't mean to suggest to do both on the same day--too much travel in between.
texasbookworm is online now  
Apr 7th, 2011, 08:28 PM
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You might also think of combining Greenwich with the Tower, with a Thames ferry ride in between, but check closing times. I recently took the train from Charing Cross to Greenwich, had a good few hours there, then ferry from Greenwich Pier to Tower Bridge - great views on approach - and having already been to the Tower on a previous visit spent the rest of the afternoon walking back west along the embankment. One price - five pounds fifty - on the boat regardless of where you disembark I believe, with only 50p off if purchased with an Oyster as I had, but about a third off with a Travelcard (I tried for a better discount as the boats - catamarans - are apparently made in Australia, but dropped that line when told they keep breaking down).
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