5 day London Itinerary - Any Comments?

Old Jun 14th, 2006, 07:29 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 646
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
5 day London Itinerary - Any Comments?

My husband and I are travelling to London with our daughters aged 12 and 14 in mid July. My husband and I have both visited London before, but this is a new experience for our children who love history and culture, and are less keen on art. We hope to give them a taste of life beyond our shores. In the evenings we will try to see a couple of shows. Any comments?

Friday. Arrive 11am on Eurostar from Paris. After booking into accommodation near Gloucester Road Tube Station, we plan to orientate ourselves by taking a couple of bus rides and do some walking (see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben etc). We have tickets to the Ceremony of the Keys this evening.

Saturday. Visit Greenwich in the morning. Boat trip one way and tram the other.
2pm - London Walks trip to Little Venice.

Sunday. We have a three day London Pass which will start today. 10am Tower of London - arrive a little earlier. Straight to see then Crown Jewels and then a Beefeater Tour. Then off to the Royal Mews. Possibly followed by some brass rubbing at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church.

Monday. St Paul's Cathedral - including the dome. Then off to Windsor - to see the castle and explore the town itself.

Tuesday. Visit the Britain at War experience (10am opening) - both girls are interested in the war. At 2pm, a London Walks guided tour of Westminster Abbey.

Wednesday. A little last minute shopping before heading to Heathrow at 1pm.

PRLCH is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2006, 08:08 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,472
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We visited the Cabinet War Rooms and the (new in 2005) Churchill Museum that is connected to the War Rooms. The museum is very well done and fascinating for adults and children your daughters' ages. My 17 year old daughter enjoyed it. The War Rooms themselves are fascinating; I especially loved the map rooms. It's amazing to think of the government just funtioning away in these little rooms below ground - and the little bedrooms for them all to sleep in.

I think that I've heard some negative things about the Britain at War Experience (???) but I can't give a first hand report.

Since the Cabinet War Rooms are an easy walk from Westminster/Big Ben and from Downing Street, it would be a good combination with the Westminster Abbey, and you could do the brass rubbings that day also. That way, you could probably fit something like the South Bank/London Eye on Sunday afternoon/evening.

noe847 is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2006, 08:19 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 71,695
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
My comment re Windsor is similar to what I wrote on your Paris thread. It would be better to go to Windsor some moring first thing. By afternoon it is jammed w/ caoch tours and others and the lines go on and on. Get there ate opening time.

I might recommend Hampton Court Palace over Windsor. Both are marvelous - but HCP is just a bit more special - especially for kids. The Medieval kitchens, costumed docents, the maze, the romance of Henry VII/Anne B., etc.
janisj is online now  
Old Jun 14th, 2006, 08:42 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 191
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
PRLCH - Couldn't get this to post in your Paris thread - Here's some Paris thoughts:

Your daughters will LOVE Paris. A couple of tips that my children enjoyed:

1. Add time to walk the staircases up to the Bell Tower at Sacre Coeur and the Arc de Triomphe. The walk up burns off some energy and the views of Paris are amazing.

2. The stores NAF NAF and Zara off the Champs Ely. contain great knock-offs of Paris fashions at cheap prices. Teenage girl heaven. Also, exploring the Virgin Megastore and seeing what French kids are listening to and reading may interest your teens.

3. The Seine river cruise is a treat at night. The historical commentary on the headphones was more enjoyable to my kids than I would have imagined.

4. The Louvre has dozens of "do it yourself" tours listed on its websites. Have your daughters browse the site, and pick a few to explore. (Sorry, couldn't get tinyurl to work - search under Activities > Thematic Trails on the Louvre web site)

My kids loved the Medieval Louvre in the basement (walking through the excavated castle walls of the Louvre from the 12th century and standing in the dungeons) and the Egyptian rooms.

5. If your girls like history and culture, try also, tour the Musée Carnavalet - a Marais mansion that chronicles the history of France - highlighting the period of the French revolution.

If they enjoy medieval history, try the Musée National du Moyen Âge (Cluny Museum) housed in a 15th century castle to view Roman baths, medieval artifacts and the famous Lady and the Unicorn tapestries. The medieval gardens outside are a beautiful spot for a break.

6. I'd think hard about Versailles and other trips outside of Paris. Realistically, you need a day for travel/tour time for these destinations. Unless, your heart is set on seeing one of these, I'd spend the time in Paris.

7. On Ile de la City, don't forget to stop at Berthillon for the best ice cream in Paris.

8. Lots of young kids hang out in Les Halles or outside the Pompidou center. Maybe, they could strike up a conversation with French children their age?

9. Definately, ask your daughters what they want to do. I've found that this makes the trip much more pleasant
ParisEscapes is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2006, 03:15 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 19,881
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My suggestion - get a proper map so you know where things are.

Your itinery has you going around London like a lop on heat.

For example, you are passing by Buck House on 1 day, then going to the Royal Mews (part of Buck House) on another day.

Ditto Tower of London & St Pauls and Westminster Abbey & Big Ben.

Personally I would have combined Westminster Abbey / Big Ben / Buck House / Royal Mews into a single easy day

Also Tower of London / St Pauls / Britain at War make another easy day

And for people whose children love "history and culture" why aren't you going to the British Museum?
alanRow is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2006, 06:41 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 646
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the feedback.; I just got my hands on a GOOD map of London, so I'll make a few alterations based on comments received. British Museum was certainly on our list of "extra" activities - time permitting. I'm having a hard time tyring to work out how much one can do in a day without killing the fun of it. Thanks for the feedback.
PRLCH is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 09:54 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 45
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi PRLCH

I'm also making plans for our family trip to London in August. Have you considered getting a London Pass?
www.londonpass.com
I'm trying to figure out if it really saves on costs, and whether it's worth adding on the travel option.

Unless you're set on Windsor, Hampton Court seems a better option with kids according to the travel books I've been reading and my UK relatives.
"London for Families" by Lain and Lain is very good and includes a walking tour of London. Lain also has a Paris version which is good, but the London version is better.
Mambo5 is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 10:08 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 362
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm not sure why you'd do brass rubbings at St Martin in the Fields, although architecturally is it wonderful Christopher Wren church. There is a decent, affordably priced cafe in the basement for lunch. However if your girls are into music, and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields is scheduled for a candlelight concert while you are there, I highly recommend it. The current director is a woman, and the chamber group we heard absolutely extraordinary.
LadyOLeisure is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 10:11 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 362
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
OK - just checked the website and saw the program for brass rubbing. Looks like it might be a cool idea and result in a nifty souvenir. I still think the concert could be a high point (if the program is right!)
LadyOLeisure is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 10:15 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 488
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Can't one do brass rubbing at Westminster Abbey, too?

I have the same question about the British Museum. I could spend all five days there and be perfectly happy!

Maybe cut out St. Martin-in-the-Fields if you're just going there for rubbings and add the BM?
cantstayhome is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 11:28 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 71,695
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Unless it has returned, I don't think there is any longer a brass rubbing center at Westminster Abbey.

As for the London Pass - unless you can get it at 2 for the price of 1 or some other discount, the LP is not a great deal for the vast majority of visitors. Sure it covers a lot of places (and many of them are no big deal). But you have to use it in consecutive days, so to get you money's worth out of it, you need to rush around to a lot of major sites in a very short time.

And w/ all the free museums in London you really don't have time for more than a few "for pay" sites.
janisj is online now  
Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 11:35 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,874
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
No shows at all?
missypie is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 11:58 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 488
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wow, it's been a long time since I did the brass rubbing at Westminster!Apparently the center there closed in 1998!
cantstayhome is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 03:00 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 20,851
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The "Britain at War" thing is a commercial venture - I have no idea what it's like, but I can't believe it's more thorough or more thoughtful in what it offers youngsters than the Imperial War Museum (which is free, and would fit equally well into your itinerary) - see especially its current feature exhibition on children's experience of WW2:
http://london.iwm.org.uk/server.php?show=nav.00b
PatrickLondon is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2006, 06:35 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 646
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Mambo,
Just back from "the trip" - had a great time! We did get a London Pass before we left Australia, but don't think I would do so again! Firstly, in Paris the museum pass let you bypass very long queues everywhere except the Arc de Triomphe (where we had to queue to get our FREE ticket), so it was worthwhile. In London, you still had to queue to have your pass checked to be let in for free. Secondly, I don't think we used it enough to get value. We tried to do a Jason's canal trip one day only to find the times were not as promoted by the pass, so the wait was too long. We simply ended up using another operator and paying for the cruise. We did not use our pass at Tower of London as we had been given free passes by someone else, so it was an opportunity to spread the sights over more days than our 3 day pass allowed. (On the Tower of London - we all enjoyed the Ceremony of the Keys - it's worth writing away for tickets).

Must get around to doing a trip report soon.
PRLCH is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2006, 07:56 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 171
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Would love a trip report! We are taking our children (11, 8 & 7) in 6 weeks! We are so looking forward to it and any last minute tips to make it memorable! Thanks!
Tara
ma23peas is offline  
Old Jul 27th, 2006, 02:28 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1,836
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just two additional recommendations...
I would skip Little Venice and instead opt for Regent's Park. Mid-July is really georgeous--rose gardens. You can take a brief stroll along the same canal along from London Zoo toward the central mosque/Lord's cricket ground.

Also, would you consider the Proms (starts mid-July) or concerts or theatre?
W9London is offline  
Old Jul 31st, 2006, 01:32 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 63
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There are two WWII attractions:

the Britain at War Experience is a rather cramped and dusty exhibition, a small and pretty old school museum, tho' you do get to go inside a 'Blitz' scenario sitting in an Anderson shelter. Some people don't get alot from it to be honest.

The Cabinet War Rooms are near parliament and were the functioning underground bunkers used by the govt under siege. Everything was left intact at the end of the war, down to the pens on the tables, and sealed up for posterity. They reopened these rooms recently, gave them all a good dusting and installed a few mannequins (tho' not on a tacky Tussauds scale) and commentary. Its one of the best attractions London has to offer, as its so damn palpable that youre walking back in time.
zupermaus is offline  
Old Jul 31st, 2006, 05:00 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 20,851
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The Imperial War Museum also has a Blitz experience in which you sit in a replica of a public brick shelter, which is duly jolted in the midst of all the bangs and crashes, and there's a slightly hokey gorblimey guvnor soundtrack (some EastEnders actors' voices distinctly recognisable). It also has a Children's War exhibition till 2008, which might interest the youngsters (as might keeping an eye out for Churchill's chamberpot in the Cabinet War Rooms).

http://london.iwm.org.uk
PatrickLondon is offline  
Old Jul 31st, 2006, 06:09 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
if you like history and walking, then you could find a personal guide, sometimes taxi drivers will do a tour. the other option is a great guide of london that takes 2-5 days called www.talkingtrip.com it takes your all around london, to its best and most interesting parts, sometimes off the main roads too. Alternative are the planet and rough guides.
jd36 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -