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5 days 4 nights in London... what 10 things do *YOU* not want to miss?

5 days 4 nights in London... what 10 things do *YOU* not want to miss?

Sep 2nd, 2010, 07:35 AM
  #1  
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5 days 4 nights in London... what 10 things do *YOU* not want to miss?

Hi everyone!

I'll be studying abroad in spain this semester, but I recently purchased tickets from Madrid to Luton for semester break, I'll be there from Oct. 27 to Nov. 1. I am just starting to plan this trip, and thought it would be interesting to get different opinions about what things and places I should be sure to include! My mom has (from her backpacking days) suggested a tour from London Walks and tea at Harrods, both of which sound great to me!

I'd love your opinions
StudyAbroadChick is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 07:42 AM
  #2  
 
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Ceremony of the Keys (need to book several weeks ahead); this was one of the highlights of my last trip to London. Also the Cabinet War Rooms, Verger's tour of Westminster Abbey, and the Soane Museum. I also did several London Walks and enjoyed them.
adrienne is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 07:49 AM
  #3  
 
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Personally I have an aversion to Harrods, and I wonder if your mother is misremembering Fortnum and Mason's (which would be much preferable in my view).
PatrickLondon is online now  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 07:50 AM
  #4  
 
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We liked seeing the Tower of London, and also agree with seeing the Cabinet War Rooms and Westminster Abbey.

We had tea at The Orangery in Kensington Gardens.
Sue878 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 07:55 AM
  #5  
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Adrienne,

The Ceremony of the Keys sounds wonderful, I'll look into sending a letter about tickets this week!

Thank you loads
StudyAbroadChick is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 07:57 AM
  #6  
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Patrick, I'm not sure, I'll check. But either way, I love tea.

Sue, the Tower is a don't miss for me, and I'll certainly be looking into the War Rooms and Westminster Abbey now
StudyAbroadChick is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 08:22 AM
  #7  
 
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Tower of London (including Yeoman Warder tour), Westminster Abbey (including Verger's tour), British Museum, a West End show, and Covent Garden would be on my list.
azzure is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 08:22 AM
  #8  
 
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Among others:

Imperial War Museum
Courtauld Gallery
National Portrait Gallery
Cabinet War Rooms
British Museum
Westminster Abbey
Speakers' Corner on Oct. 31 (Sunday)

Go to Londontown.com for info on shows, concerts, etc. The O2 concert schedule is extensive. You'd likely also enjoy South Bank area for nice restaurants and wandering.

Your mom likely does remember Harrod's and likely did not go to Fortnum & Mason -- if you ask an American about famous London icons, Harrod's would pop up, F&M wouldn't. That said, you're not going to buy clothes or other department store goodies at Harrod's (way expensive -- talking Neiman Marcus range). You want tea, great sweet snacks, and a better variety to shop around for food souvenirs, it's Fortnum & Mason over Harrod's.
BigRuss is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 08:26 AM
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Our best memories:
1. Check the concert schedule for St Martin-in-the-Fields. We've attended free noon hour recitals, and some memorable evening candlelight concerts (reasonably priced). Free concerts also at the Brompton Oratory (aka Old Oratory; aka Oratory of St Philip Neri).
2. St Paul's: climb the stairs to the Whispering Gallery and above (warning: 530 stairs, many on narrow, metal, open-backed steps; not good for the claustrophobic or those afraid of heights). Fascinating crypt full of famous folk.
3. Westminster Abbey
4. National Gallery: especially impressionists, Turners, Rembrandts.
5. Victoria and Albert: esp the Raphael "cartoons" (enormous watercolor? paintings used as sketches for Sistine Chapel tapestries), plaster casts of classical sculptures (far more beautiful than they sound!).
6. British Museum: esp Rosetta Stone, Elgin marbles, Egyptian mummies.
7. Tate Gallery: esp the enormous Turner collection.
Sorry if, by the end of the list, it sounds like obvious choices; they are our best memories. So much to see in so little time; good for you to do your research this far in advance.
GSP_owner is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 09:12 AM
  #10  
 
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British Museum -- Try to see some of the lesser known exhibits as, such as the pre-Columbian art -- spectacular artifacts from the Maya and Aztecs -- as well as the more famous draws.

National Gallery

Westminster Abbey

The Tower

St. Paul's

Boat to Greenwich if the weather cooperates (iffy that time of year)

Walk through St James Park -- did you expect to find pelicans in London?

Walk down Jermyn Street with its beautifully fitted-out (and very expensive) shops.

Walk through the City and Inns of Court to see surviving bits of old London. I've been visiting Temple Church for over thirty years because I love the effigies of the knights in the floor. Last time I went it had been very spruced up, using funds raised from the filming of a scene in The Da Vinci Code. Place hasn't looked so good since the Templar's day.

Another walk, this time along the South Bank of the Thames.

Bonus (#11) -- for a reasonably priced and quite good traditional English meal (savory pies, etc), try Porter's near Covent Garden.
Fra_Diavolo is online now  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 09:36 AM
  #11  
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Thanks for all the responses guys! I'm hoping to do some more research and come back with a list for opinions in the next day or so!

Thanks for all the great ideas!
StudyAbroadChick is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 11:57 AM
  #12  
 
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One other thing:

Go to a soccer match. Do that in Spain too. Doesn't matter if you like the game or sports, etc. Do it for the cultural insight. In Spain, you'll learn some new words that you should not say in polite company; ditto may be true for London. The Oct. 30/31 weekend is a league weekend so more than one of the London teams (there are five in the Premier League) should be in town.

And read this site so you know what the Brits are talking about:

http://www.effingpot.com/slang.shtml
BigRuss is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 12:07 PM
  #13  
 
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PS Jermyn Street isn't necessarily expensive. It is most famous for its shirt-makers (Thomas Pink, New and Lingwood) but you can get shirts there at far better value than Brooks Brothers (Charles Tyrwhitt, Hawes & Curtis, TM Lewin, Harvie & Hudson). For you, there are certainly women's items at most of the major clothiers.

Need more info: http://www.streetsensation.co.uk/stjames/jer_sth1.htm
BigRuss is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 12:54 PM
  #14  
 
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Kew Gardens
Borough Market
Theater, theater, theater
Liberty (dept. store)
Wallace Collection
V&A
lennyba is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 04:00 PM
  #15  
 
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My favorites, not in order: The Tower, Westminster Abbey, the Imperial War Museum, the parks of all sizes, the British Museum, the British Library if you are a book lover at all, Borough Market IF it's open when you're there, climbing to the Golden Gallery of St. Paul's, the Thames at night, and the icons of Parliament/Big Ben/Buckingham Palace just to walk by
texasbookworm is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 09:06 PM
  #16  
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Bookworm - I am a total bookworm myself, I just finished an internship at a library and will probably be going to grad school for library science, the library is on my must see list for sure, and with your user name... I have to ask - any favorite bookstores I should check out?
StudyAbroadChick is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 09:33 PM
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Since you're a bookworm, if you haven't read "84 Charing Cross Road" then you should read it before you go. I periodically re-read my very battered copy.
adrienne is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 09:38 PM
  #18  
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Ohh, I just googled that, it sounds really intriguing, I'll see if I can track down a copy I was planning to take one paperback along for the trip and that might be it (I cheat though, and have amazon kindle installed on my computer with all of the public domain books and loads of free ones downloaded on to it!)!

I've got a couple of things to do tomorrow and a few more webpages to read, but I'll post my ambitious list of things to squeeze in tomorrow!
StudyAbroadChick is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2010, 05:49 AM
  #19  
 
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If you read the charming 84 Charing Cross Road, and want to find the now-gone site, look carefully--there's a dingy blue plaque on the wall, right outside a restaurant at that address, rather higher than eye level, but kinda fun to look for!

We didn't get to spend enough time in bookstores, even on 3 trips to London, as there's too much else to see, but I'm glad we got to go in Hatchards for a bit.

But my fave so far is actually in Oxford--Blackwells. Do try to plan a day trip to Oxford (for library science person--a must almost---Tolkien, Lewis, Carroll, all those poets!) You can get to Oxford by coach or train and it is worth every penny and effort. It's worth "sacrificing" a day in London, too.
texasbookworm is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2010, 06:44 PM
  #20  
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Okay, here is some semblance of a list, opinions on order and content please!

First Day - (arriving late afternoon from Luton airport)
Nothing planned except a trip to the London Eye

Second Day -
Double Decker Tour
Big Ben
Westminster Abbey
Trafalgar Square

Third Day -
British Museum
British Library
Benjamin Franklin House
Changing of the Guard?

Fourth Day -
Tower Bridge
Tower of London
The Monument
St. Paul's
Attend a theater!

Fifth Day -
Day trip to Oxford/Stratford on Avon (suggested companies/tours?)
I am thinking about a ghost tour of Oxford this night as well.

Final Day -
The Globe
SOHO

I do plan on attending the Ceremony of the Keys, but am not sure when I will be allowed to.
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