About 3 days in London- itinerary ideas?

Old Apr 20th, 2012, 08:01 PM
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About 3 days in London- itinerary ideas?

I will be in London with my daughter early this July for about 3 days (2 half days and 2 full days) and I need help with an itinerary. There are some must sees as well as some like to sees.
My daughters must sees: Hyde Park, Kensington Palace, Westminster Abbey, Harrods, Tower of London + the V + A
My must sees: At least one art gallery (Tate Modern/Tate Britain/National Gallery/National Portrait Gallery- which one is best?), St. Pauls Cathedral, Covent Garden
My daughter is very into British literature, so I thought perhaps the British library would be good?
I also thought that the Museum of London sounded quite nice.
We both realize this is a lot to see in just one short trip, but we would like to fit as much in as humanly possible.
Also, is it worth taking some of this stuff out of our itinerary, spending only 1 full day in London and taking a day trip to either: Bath, Brighton or Oxford/Stratford?
My daughter is also a big fan of the monarchy. Any tips?
We will be staying in South Kensington
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Old Apr 20th, 2012, 09:45 PM
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With such a short time, I'd spend it all in London.

Do visit the "treasures room" at the British Library. It's fascinating.

We spent about the same time you did in London in 2007. Here's a link to my trip report, if you're interested: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...b-may-2007.cfm

Lee Ann
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Old Apr 20th, 2012, 09:46 PM
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Regarding the day trips...NO. London is worth more than the time you're alloted.

Get a guide book and map it out. I've drug my wife from the Tower to Kensington Gardens on foot; lots to see along the way.

You do understand that the Olympics start in London in July. Place is going to be packed.
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Old Apr 21st, 2012, 04:45 AM
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You can do all those things if you group them geographically and don't need to spend a long time in the museums - they are free so it's great to just pop in for a short time and you don't need to feel you have to spend half a day to get your money's worth. Also, if you daughter is into the monarchy doesn't she want to see Buckingham Palace. Plus St. James's Park (which is where you see it from) is one of the nicest places in London.

Hyde Park, Kensington Palace, Harrods, + the V + A can all be done in half a day.

Westminster Abbey, the National Gallery and Covent Garden should be grouped together. The National Gallery is on Trafalgar Square, right next to Covent Garden. And Westminster Abbey is right next to the Houses of Parliament. Walk across Westminster Bridge for the best/classic view. I would add a walk along the river. I would also do St. James' Park/Buckingham Palace (from the outside) to this day.

The other full day - get to the Tower when it opens. Most people spend a couple hours at least there. St. Paul's is not that far from there and the Museum of London is right behind it. Walk across the Millennium Foot Bridge and you are right at the Take Modern.

That still leaves you with half a day but I don't think with two full and two half days you have time for a day trip.

Here are some photos to get you started planning where you want to go: http://www.pbase.com/annforcier/london
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Old Apr 21st, 2012, 05:06 AM
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IMO--
Definitely include the British Library; it won't take up lots of time. I've heard mixed views of seeing the inside of Kensington Palace--might not be worth your time this trip, but could plan to see the outside/gardens. No day trips; stay in London.

Try to do some parks and Harrods if you must and maybe the VandA on one half day. They're all sorta in same area and probably near your rooms, so start out with this. You might end up having energy to also go past Buckingham palace this day--that way you'd have done the "monarchy" things like royal parks and palaces. Plus maybe a glimpse inside the VandA.

Another day start at Westminster Abbey at opening, see views from Bridge, then walk up to Traflagar Square and into the National Gallery, then over to Covent Garden.

Another full day start at the Tower at opening (go early to take some pics around there and of the Tower Bridge), then catch tube to the British Library, spend about an hour, then maybe walk to the British Museum. That's not on your list but is better than the Museum of London. The Museum of London is good, but for a short first visit I'd give it a pass.

The other half day go to/into St. Paul's and then onto the Millennium Bridge. Depending on your time you might make it to the Tate Modern and you could see the outside of the Globe. If your time is limited this half day, then start early on the south side of the Thames for a walk around and then go on into St. Paul's.

It's so smart to have a list which isn't too impossible (as long as you stay in London for the whole time) and understand to group stuff by area/neighborhood. And be aware of how huge the city is and how long it can take to travel between sites, which is why not to try to add anything to your list. (I just replaced one Museum, London, with another, the British.)

Another thought--you can go to an Evensong at either St. Paul's or Westminster Abbey if you run short of time and just want to at least see inside it. You can't tour but you can see a bit. I'd only do this if you end up with no time for a tour of one of them; following "my plan" above, if you do have time on your fourth day, would give you time inside both.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 04:02 PM
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My advice is to see Kensington Palace from the outside and skip the ridiculous things they are doing inside while they renovate unless the renovations are complete by now. We went in 2010 and they had some sort of silly theme going on that was pretty boring and a waste of time. Admire the gardens and view the Palace but don't waste your limited time.

I strongly suggest the Tower of London as everyone says go at opening time.

We loved the National Gallery. The National Portrait Gallery is around the corner and if you happen to be there on a Friday they are open late.

We also thoroughly enjoyed the Museum of London. Do make time for that one.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 04:31 PM
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London is a great city, it is worth spending time there, if you wish to escape the craziness of the 2012 Olympics Stratford Upon Avon is lovely and a bonus if your daughter is onto the Bard, it is about a 2hr40min train journey away so bear that in mind. The V&A is lovely and in South Ken so not to far from whereever your staying, even the cafe is gorgeous. I would recommend London Bridge & the Tower of London, if you are in to Monarchy then Ken palace but I've not been so can't comment.

Just bear in mind London is busy at any time, but add the Olympics to the mix and you won't be travelling anywhere fast on the tube, I'd try and stick to a certain area per day rather than trying to cross the city. Do go to Covent garden and soak up the atmospheare if you have time. If you're into cream teas, go to the restaurant at the top of the British Museum, yummy! Have the best time x
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Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 05:34 PM
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Just to clarify--the London Bridge is just a sorta ugly modern span. It's the TOWER Bridge in all those pictures.

Also I'd just ignore suggestions of day trips. Just enjoy London.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2012, 01:38 AM
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Texasbookworm is totally right about the bridge, thanks x
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Old Apr 23rd, 2012, 08:10 AM
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"if you wish to escape the craziness of the 2012 Olympics Stratford Upon Avon is lovely "

I dare say Stratford on Avon won't be an escape from any crowds. It is tourist central. Doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't go there if you want (though I personally wouldn't during such a short visit) -- but don't expect it to be a rural/quiet village.

"(Tate Modern/Tate Britain/National Gallery/National Portrait Gallery- which one is best?),"

They are all entirely different so it partly depends on which type(s) of art you prefer. The National and National Portrait do have one advantage - since they are literally next door to each other, they make a great 'two fer'.

If you like Turner -- Tate Britain is a 'must'.

And Tate Modern is -- well, modern

Each is well worth a visit -how to prioritize them mostly depends on your tastes.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2012, 08:32 AM
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We have a little longer than you in London and plan to see the British Museum and Library, National gallery, Tate Britain, the Vergers tour at Westminster, Greenwich and the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace. We've been to St. Paul's and the Tower of London before, this trip we're really concentrating more on the museums. With just 3 days I'd cut out the day trip and just do London.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2012, 02:54 PM
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Rick Steves London book has a page near the front that has a list of what to do if you have only one day in London. Then he expands it to what to add if you have two days or three days. Maybe that list will help you avoid the after trip situation where someone says, "you went to London and you didn't go see .....".
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Old Apr 23rd, 2012, 04:31 PM
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On the same side of the street as the V&A but on down quite near Harrod's is one of the chain Richoux Tea Rooms. Their tea for two selection makes quite an adequate lunch or supper if you don't have time in the afternoon and is a treat that my daughter and I enjoy. It is less expensive than afternoon tea at one of the posh hotels.

We like to stay near the Gloucester Road tube station, and we walk from there to the V&A and on to Harrod's.
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Old Apr 29th, 2012, 02:33 PM
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Thanks!
I think i have now strung an itinerary together.

1st half day: V+A, Hyde Park, Harrods
Next full day: Tower of London, Museum of London, St. Pauls and Tate Modern (I know, a busy day...)
Next full day: Westminster Abbey, St. James Park, Trafalger Square, National Gallery, Covent Garden, Kensington Palace + Gardens
Last half day: Tate Britain (my daughter is big on Turner) and Buckingham Palace
So how is it? Any suggestions?
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Old Apr 29th, 2012, 02:53 PM
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Mostly OK-- but I don't think your day two is doable. The Tower takes about 4 hours (3.5 if you REALLY rush), St Pauls maybe 90 mins to 2 hours depending on if you climb to the top or not), The Museum of London a couple of hours, Tate Modern from a quick hour to HOURS depending on how much you are into the art. That is all w/o travel time and meals.

It would be a 'dead run' sort of day. It could work if you chose 3of the 4 sites.

Now -- IF that happens to fall on a Fri or Sat, it would be doable since the Tate stays open late.
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Old Apr 29th, 2012, 04:03 PM
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As I said above, I'd strongly suggest the British Library and/or the British Museum over the Museum of London. Don't know why you have left that on your agenda--but it's your trip. Your daughter who loves Brit Lit, though, will find much more at the BM and BL to interest her.

janisj is of course correct in that Day 2 is probably impossible, whatever museum you choose. I'd urge you to to the Tower, then St. Paul's and the National Gallery and THEN see if you have time for a museum. Or you could the next day skip the INSIDE of Kensington Palace and go to the BM or BL or Museum of London if you still must.

Trying to balance your different interests is a juggling act, isn't it! Whatever you end up with, it'll be great! Do keep the Tower and Westminster Abbey and/or St. Paul's on the top of your must-do's.
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