48 hours in London for first timers

May 16th, 2014, 04:39 AM
  #1  
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48 hours in London for first timers

Hello, we are flying into Heathrow London towards the end of June as a first stop before a self drive trip to Ireland (fly home from Dublin). We arrive at 7:00 am, and have two full days and two nights (rail and sail to Dublin on day 3) We have booked a hotel in the Kensington area and will not have a car. We are four, with our kids being 14 and 16 - we would like to have a full itinerary due to the short time, and I was hoping for a suggested itinerary and schedule on the best stuff to see and the most efficient way to see it. Also, any restaurant ideas thrown in would be great too!! Thank you so much
madforireland is offline  
May 16th, 2014, 04:48 AM
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You arriving from North America? Are you flying business class?
sparkchaser is offline  
May 16th, 2014, 05:13 AM
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No, economy, we will do our best to sleep on the plane, and will push through! We may call it an early night, but we will push through the day!!
madforireland is offline  
May 16th, 2014, 05:31 AM
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Wow! Hard to recommend a 2-day itinerary for London. It can easily take a week just to scratch the surface. I'll try to start the ball rolling with what I would do in 2 days but this is after 6 trips to London.

Visit the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey (take the vergers' tour); Walk around Westminster to see the Houses of Parliament; British Museum; walk along the Mall, view Buckingham Palace; have fish and chips at a pub; have afternoon tea at Kensington Palace; see a play your second evening so you are less likely to fall asleep.

This should keep you busy for 2 days. Others will have different ideas. Sounds like you have done little or no research. Get some guidebooks from the library and put the kids to work on the internet. Decide what appeals to all and come back for more help.
mamcalice is offline  
May 16th, 2014, 05:45 AM
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Thanks! I have done the research! but wanted the advice of someone who's been there, done that.

We've all researched and come up with two weeks worth of activities, lol, trying to match that with some great advice from the well seasoned, in order to pare it down.
madforireland is offline  
May 16th, 2014, 05:55 AM
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British Museum would be #1 on my list. Don't do it on your first day though. You'll probably be out of it most of the day.

The Indian food in London is great and definitely go to a pub for fish & chips.
sparkchaser is offline  
May 16th, 2014, 06:02 AM
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Every single person on here will have a different list of 'Musts'. So why don't you tell us what you've researched and what you are thinking of visiting. Then we can help you narrow things down. Since many NA flights arrive the same time as yours, you very likely won't be through immigration and to your hotel until after 10 AM. You say Kensington - but where exactly are you staying? That could mean Kensington proper, Earls Court, or South Kensington (S Kens would be the most convenient )

Your first day will likely be VERY difficult so even though you want to soldier on, that won't be easy. Sites like the Tower of London will take at minimum half a day (including travel time and a light meal). Most families take longer.
janisj is online now  
May 16th, 2014, 06:08 AM
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Every single person on here will have a different list of 'Musts'.

So very true.
sparkchaser is offline  
May 16th, 2014, 07:09 AM
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For me, the two iconic sights are Westminster Abbey and The Tower. I'd suggest the Tower for your first day, as it's partially outside and the tours are amusing. I think, given jet lag, that will be it for day one.

After the Abbey, maybe walk past Parliament and through St James Park. You're near quite a few sights here -- consult a map!
Fra_Diavolo is offline  
May 16th, 2014, 07:41 AM
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My musts are about the same as mamcalice but skip Tea.
But it would be really hard to fit all of this in two days.
Since you are in Kensington the museums are close and the kids might like the Natural History museum, the Science museum or the V & A museum.
MarthaT is offline  
May 16th, 2014, 07:46 AM
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TEA???

You don't have time for a tea service.

Go to the Tower. Go to the Abbey. Those should be the centerpieces of your two days. Use the Tube, the buses will take too bloody long.
BigRuss is offline  
May 16th, 2014, 10:21 AM
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You have 1.5 days (even w/ a 0700 arrival). At least the half day will be jet lagged so figure you can manage three major sites (ex. British Museum, Tower of London, Westminster abbey). If you are all VERY resilient you might squeeze in one additional but that would be difficult.
janisj is online now  
May 16th, 2014, 10:26 AM
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And remember to build in travel time . . . High street Kensington to Tower Hill for instance takes about 30 minutes.
janisj is online now  
May 16th, 2014, 11:44 AM
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Tower of London, day 2, as soon as it opens.

Beyond that, either day, spend some time around Westminster, Buckingham Palace and the view of the Parliament (not that order but you get it). Consider the Eye if needing a "fun" thing for the kids.

I can see popping into the British Museum for a surgical strike (Rosetta stone, etc.). I would also recommend hitting areas/places that you always hear about: Picadilly Circus, Covent Gardent for example. (Covent is over rated in my memory BUT it is kind of synonymous with London.) To that end I could see you popping into Harrod's.

Whatever you do, group things on a map to save travel time.
Bitter is offline  
May 16th, 2014, 01:59 PM
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>>I can see popping into the British Museum for a surgical strike (Rosetta stone, etc.).<<

Something like this, perhaps. http://www.britishmuseum.org/visitin...s/3_hours.aspx or this http://www.britishmuseum.org/visitin...ls/1_hour.aspx

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
May 16th, 2014, 03:50 PM
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Which Kensington area? High Street, West Kens, South Kens? If around High Street, well, you'll definitely need the Tube because you'll be a bit far off from the Tower and not so close to Westminster either.
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May 17th, 2014, 05:31 AM
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Thank you for the replies and suggestions so far, our hotel is Earls Court in Kensington, 5 minute walk from the tube. These are some of the things on our wish list, Piccadilly Circus, Abbey Road, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Harrods, kensington palace, Diana Memorial, a game called Clue Quest (or hint hunt)' Camden Market, London Eye, London Museum. I know it's a lot, but it's a wish list. I am considering extending the stay one more night, and cut one of the 13 nights in Ireland - we are flexible as we are doing the rail / sail to Dublin - I can easily trim one night in Dublin. Clue Quest looked really fun, but might be out of the way - and not Iconic London but we'll see. Oh yes, and we were thinking of We Will Rock You on the second night - thoughts on all the above? Doable in 3 days?
madforireland is offline  
May 17th, 2014, 07:13 AM
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Oops, just saw that We Will Rock You ends on May 31
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May 17th, 2014, 07:18 AM
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I recommend going on the Eye at dusk/night then heading to dinner. Beautiful view of London! Make sure to buy tickets in advance- you'll be able to skip the line.
amsrunner is offline  
May 17th, 2014, 10:30 AM
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Yeah, your first day I'd not expect to actually be at anything until early afternoon. You have a good chance of getting settled in, regrouping, exploring the neighborhood near your rooms by lunch, but I wouldn't PLAN anything else for certain.

For a first fast trip I'd not put the London Museum on a list.

However, the BRITISH Museum is among my top 4 "must-sees" and I've been 5 times and will go next visit too.

Most of the places you list on your "wish list" MIGHT be or COULD be just walk-throughs/bys--?? I've not been IN Kensington Palace but it certainly never made it to my top list and gets rather mixed reactions, I think. I have walked by and around it, gladly.

FYI, my top 4, each taking about half a day at least--The Tower of London and environs, the British Museum, Westminster Abbey and environs, and St. Paul's and around it. I've been on the Eye--with students the age of your kids--they loved it, I thought it was ok, glad I did it on my 5th trip, never gonna be on my Must-Sees with all the other stuff to do.

Have much fun!!
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