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48 hours in London...first time visit...what to see?

48 hours in London...first time visit...what to see?

Old Aug 4th, 1998, 12:04 PM
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48 hours in London...first time visit...what to see?

We will be in London in Mid-October for only 48 hours. How should we go about seeing as much as possible in this limitied time frame? And where should we locate our hotel to accomodate this feat?
Old Aug 5th, 1998, 07:06 AM
Mike Shaw
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Here's my suggestions....Stay close to the West End,I've always stayed in area called Bloomsbury, lots of hotels and B&Bs,plus walking distance to london core. I would start with a open double decker bus tour of London, this would give you a good overview of the city. I know that one pickup point is Marble Arch, there are others. I would also get a Tube pass, so that you can use the subway as much as you want. One good starting point for doing some exploration by foot would be Trafalgar Square. On the Square itself you have St Martin in the Field CHurch (good food, brass rubbing centre), the National Gallery, and of course the fountains and pigeons. From here, one direction is short walk to Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Cabinet War Rooms....Another direction is St James Park, St James Palace, Buckingham Palace. Another direction is Piccadily Circus, Leicester Square. At Leicester Square you could go to the 1/2 Price ticket booth for theatre tickets. London Tower is a subway ride away. If you go there, try to go early in the morning to avoid crowds. All of the above could easily fill your time! Another neat thing to do is a guided walking tour of an area of the city. I recommend that you pick up a copy of the magazine "What's On"...it lists everything that's going on that week in London...available at most newstands...A good map of London is the "London A to Z"... Hope this helps....
Old Aug 5th, 1998, 07:41 AM
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I would agree with all in the above message. Unfortunately it's been 10 yrs since we were in London, but the basics don't change -- Once we had left our bags at the hotel, we took the subway (using passes)to St. James Park, walked though it to Buckingham Palace -- it's still one of my special memories, our first European trip and seeing this park and the Palace really gave me the "reality" that we were actually there.

Additionally, I would vote for the early evening walking tours -- ghosts of London, etc.-- rather than the theatre. We had time to do both several times, but with only one evening why not do & see things not available at home.

Rather than do the shops near P. Circle, try to walk past Harods (sp?) -- see their windows and do go into their food court(s). I have seen nothing like this in USA. We got items for a picnic lunch there, which might be a nice alternative to a restaurant.

Old Aug 5th, 1998, 08:01 AM
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Passes were mentioned before.
Your best bets would be the off-peak daily passes (after 9:30 am) which vary in cost depending on what tube zones you need to cover. Usually Zone 1 will suffice.
On departure date if Heathrow is your airport the cost of the pass is the same as a one-way ticket to the airport.
The Hop-on/Hop-off bus mentinoned earliet is a great way of getting around during your first day.
Old Aug 5th, 1998, 08:42 AM
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I would do a sightseeing tour bus just for an overview for a couple of hours. Then, it depends on your personal interests. I would do the Tower
of London, but go very early in the day and don't stay more than a couple of hours. I would
certainly see Westminster Abbey, and St Paul's because I think the latter is an architectural work of art. For art and/or artifacts, spend a couple of hours in the National Gallery and/or the British Museum. I am not the biggest fan of the Victoria and Albert museum but they have a great gift shop. If you're interested in theatre and don't
live in a place where you get much of it, by all means go to the theatre at least one night. Harrods is good for a walk through and so you can say you've seen the food halls. Try a late afternoon tea
at Fortnum and Mason's or one of the hotels. It will be pricey, but it will hold you over until after the theatre and then you could go for a late
dinner somewhere.
Above all, walk. You'll get a good orientation that way. One good long walk is from Trafalgar Square (where the National Gallery is) to the Green Park tube stop. You'll pass Big Ben,the Palace of Westminster, Buck. Palace,cross through the park, and you'll end up on Picadilly a couple of blocks from Fortnum's and the Ritz hotel.
I found the tube to be very convenient so you can stay almost anywhere. Good
areas are Bloomsbury, South Kensington, and of course the Knightsbridge,Hyde Park & St James areas which will be generally pricier.
Bailey's hotel near the Gloucester Road
tube stop is moderately priced, convenient, and
a simple but pleasant hotel. Bloomsbury has lots of hotels.
Old Aug 5th, 1998, 08:50 AM
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I would suggest a visit to the Tower of London if you're at all interested in the history of London. Make sure you take the guided tour with the Beefeater guard near the front entrance for a funny, fact filled tour of the place. Also be sure to see the crown jewels while you're there. We also stayed in Bloomsbury and it was easy to get around from there. As long as you're close to a tube (subway) stop, all of London is quickly accessible.

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