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7 hours in London

Old Oct 27th, 2005, 01:13 PM
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7 hours in London

Hello - well I've tried a couple of searches and didn't find much on this. I've got a 9 hour layover at Heathrow next year. Mid-late May. I'm not going to stay in the airport this time, so what would you suggest for someone who's never been in London? I've got 7 hours, so I think I'd really just like to walk around, check out quaint shops, grab a bite to eat, people watch, visit a garden...but which areas? Thanks for any ideas!
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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 01:38 PM
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I'd take the tube into London, get off at Piccadilly Circus, look around, walk down to the Embankment, do the London Eye if time and desire permit, or hop on a boat for a ride with commentary down to London Bridge (and back - great photo ops both ways!), then regroup and decide on other spur-of-the-moment moves as time and energy allow before connecting to Piccadilly Line again to return to Heathrow.

That's just one of a bezillion possible ideas. Enjoy

WK
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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 02:11 PM
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I like Wally's ideas. Here are some additional comments. Buy a one-day travelcard for zones 1-6 which will get you from Heathrow to central London on the tube, allow you unlimited tube, bus and National Rail train rides within those zones, and get you back to Heathrow. Visit the Web sites for the Original and the Big Bus hop on-hop off double-decker bus tours and study their various routes and stops. Then create your own version using the public bus system and your travelcard. Walk as much as possible, both for people watching and for discovering the new worlds that are around nearly every corner.
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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 02:18 PM
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One more thing: While you're walking, pop into a pub for a pint and some pub grub (tasty and relatively cheap).
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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 03:30 PM
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Thanks! Those are good ideas.
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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 09:27 PM
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There are several good options - but w/ a 9 hour layover don't count on anywhere near 7 hours free in London.

Plan on approx an hour on the ground at LHR before you can get to any form of transport into town. Then if you take the tube it will be 40-60 mins depending on where you get off. Another 40-60 mins back to LHR and 1-2 hours at LHR for security and check-in.

So in reality, your 9 hours gets you between 4 and 5 hours for seeing/doing.

Now, many will recommend taking the Paddington Express into town because it only take 15 minutes. But that only gets you to Paddington which a quite a ways from any major sites. By the time you queue for a taxi or take the tube from Paddington you would be as well off just taking the tube from the airport for a fraction of the cost.

If you think going into London is worth it for just 4 or 5 hours - take the tube to Hammersmith, get off and cross the platform and get on the District line. get off at Westminster. Look straight up as you exit the tube station and you are looking at Big Ben. You will be across the street from Westminster Abbey, right on the river across from teh Eye, a block from St James Park and and straight down Whitehall from Trafalgar square.

OR - from LHR you could catch a bus or cab to Windsor. It is only about 7 miles and you could see the Castle, walk along the river, have a nice lunch and be back to LHR in plenty of time.
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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 10:18 PM
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janisj

I have no idea what the pub is called that is on the left hand side as you go over the bridge to Eton but it was very contempary although the food was 'pub-like'.

Usually when we visit an restaurant we collect a business card to add to our collection, very interesting when framed in our dining room but they didn't have one when we visited. Any ideas to the name?

Cooncat, If you do choose to visit Windsor (and it does seem to fit your criteria) then the short walk to Eton is very nice.

Part of the problem is that you don't say what time you are arriving, or leaving. I assume it's early if you're flying from the US.

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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 06:48 AM
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Thanks everyone. I arrive at about 6 a.m., and I leave for Nairobi at 7 p.m. So, how much time DOES that leave me!? I still think it will be worth it to have a look around and get some walking in before the next long flight. Thanks!
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 06:54 AM
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My "create-your-own" bus tour idea probably made it sound like you'll have plenty of time in London. The 4-5 hour estimate is more realistic, particularly if your plane is late getting into Heathrow. If I were to pick just one area to explore on foot, I would do what janisj suggests and take the tube to Westminster. You'll still want to buy a one-day travelcard. Will your luggage be checked through to your next flight? If not, note that there are left luggage facilities at Heathrow.
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 07:13 AM
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I am hoping to check my luggeage thru - but it may be too early. At any rate, I won't be toting baggage thru London! Any tips for navigating Heathrow?
Thanks Again!
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 07:30 AM
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Visiting www.heathrowairport.com may tell you everything you need to know. If not, it should help you know what further questions to ask on this board.
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 07:41 AM
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i second janis' suggestion of not taking the tube, but it's called the Heathrow express, and it goes in Paddington station. it's about a 20 minute ride (i never timed it, but it's certainly less than a half hour, whereas the tube takes over an hour to get to central london..)

from Paddington take a cab to the Covent Garden area and just wander around, visit the National Gallery which is nearby in Trafalgar Square. Walk down to the Thames, beautiful walk when you walk across the bridge. Eat in a pub. Take a cab (or walk) or Buckingham Palace.

soo much to do in London.
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 08:02 AM
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Go for it! I like your idea of taking what time you have to get a taste of London, even if it is just a little taste. Whether it is 9 hours or only 4-5 hours in London it is definatly better that no time in London. There have been some excellent recommendations on how to travel so I will just add my humble opinion on what you should see while you are there.

The stereotypical things from the postcard rack are Westminster Square where you will see the outsides of Westmister Abby, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament the River Themes and the London Eye. Not too far away, Picadilly circus is in the theater districk and a short walk from Trafalger square and Covent Garden. Those two area will give you a great snapshot experience. Have fun and then start planning your next visit when you can stay longer.
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 08:42 AM
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Now that I know your arrival and departure times, I can say that your original estimate of having seven hours in London is about right. If your plane is on time, you should be able to get to central London by around 08:00. If you need to check in two hours ahead of your 19:00 flight, you'll need to leave central London around 15:30. If you have to retrieve your luggage before checking in, you should leave no later than 15:00. That still gives you seven hours in the city.
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 08:56 AM
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Thanks everyone! Truly appreciate it, and yes, a trip to London and more of the U.K. is on my list!
Sharon
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Old Oct 29th, 2005, 06:19 PM
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Hi again - Just out of curiosity, if I decided on Windsor instead, what else is there to do there? If the weather is decent, this might be a more "calm" or relaxing option, a nice stroll, etc. I'm cringing just asking this question, but is it a pretty, quaint area?
Thanks again!
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Old Oct 29th, 2005, 07:54 PM
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Windsor is nice, and certainly more laid-back than London, but if you've never been to either before, I can't recommend it.

I second using the Heathrow Express, as it will save you most of two hours' traveling. From Paddington (buy a one-day bus pass there), you can see a lot of the best-known sites by just riding the #15 bus across town to the Tower. Then the RV1 will take you down the south bank to the Eye, whence you can walk to Westminster. Buses from there take you past Buckingham Palace and so forth. Here's a map to download and print out:

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/pdfdocs/tourist.pdf
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Old Oct 29th, 2005, 10:03 PM
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Ah, Robspierre... thanks. I remember you being very helpful for my Paris trip not long ago! I will print out that map!
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Old Oct 30th, 2005, 01:51 PM
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One other silly question: I have a friend who is meeting me. He lives in Oxford. Would that be an interesting place to hang out for the day?

Thanks again!
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Old Oct 30th, 2005, 02:35 PM
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You asked "what else is there in Windsor?" but I'd like to say that a visit to Windsor Castle could take several hours, as there's a lot to see. It's one of the Queen's palaces - see http://www.windsor.gov.uk/attractions/castle.htm for more info.

Oxford would indeed be interesting for a day trip... (800 year old university, museums, nice places to eat, and the city centre is very compact) but I'm not sure I'd want to risk the 40 mile journey, unless your friend could drive you there and back. There's a direct bus every half hour from Heathrow to central Oxford, (allow 1.5 hours for the journey) so you could just do it. See what your friend suggests.
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