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Any "pearls" to share about London tourist sites?

Any "pearls" to share about London tourist sites?

Nov 23rd, 2002, 03:50 PM
Helpful Hints
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Any "pearls" to share about London tourist sites?

Do you have any helpful hints or pearls to share-specifically about how to better and efficiently experience the tourist sites in London? The key word here is helpful.

Pearls=good tidbits of advice that would make your travel more interesting, time saving, cheaper, memorable, etc.

For example, best days to go to the British Museum, best time of day, how to avoid crowds, etc.

These are the tourist sites:
British museum
british library
tower of london
Westminster abbey
Buckingham Palace
Vicoria and Albert
London Eye
Covent Garden
National Gallery

Any thoughts or ideas? The more we share the better.
Nov 23rd, 2002, 03:54 PM
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You can make reservations in advance for the London Eye. If you do an online search on "London Eye" you'll come across the website. You can prepay and make your reservations and avoid the lines.
Nov 23rd, 2002, 04:10 PM
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Covent Garden is a good spot, rain or shine. I love all the buskers who come out and perform, especially in the afternoon. This is a place where you can just come and hang out and soak in the atmosphere of London.
Nov 24th, 2002, 03:51 AM
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Take a bus tour at the beginning of the trip that hits all the high spots. The tour guide will entertain you with some "pearls", you'll get a view of everything, albeit from the bus, and a sense of where things are.

While the tube is fastest for getting around, try buses when you can. You get to see more!
Nov 24th, 2002, 10:07 AM
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A good time to go to The British Museum is as early as possible.

Also, avoid the tube at rush hour.

Also, avoid the tube after 11 pm on weekends if you want to avoid the drunk louts coming our after the pubs close.

P.S. great idea for a thread!
Nov 24th, 2002, 10:19 AM
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Another strategy for making the best use of your time at these attractions is to check up on which evenings they're open. IIRC, most of them, including the British Museum and the V&A, are open at least one evening per week. But at the brit, not ALL the galleries are open during the additional hours, so ID those and see them first.

Tower: Arrive at opening, so see the Crown Jewels first, then return to the entrance for a Beefeaters tour. The tours aren't offered when it's raining at all.

Harrods is closed on Sundays.

The vergers' tour at Westminster Abbey is well worth the extra cost.

Buckingham Palace is open only during August and September and the changing of the guard is a disappointment for many people who attend.

The British Library exhibit of its "Treasures" was the highlight of my trip; don't miss it!
Nov 24th, 2002, 11:53 AM
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The London Pass (?) gives you admission to a whole pile of sites - 39Pounds each for a 2 day pass. Buy them at the tourist office, just a block from Trafalgar square.
Of course, the museum and galleries are free. Buckingham Palace tours ended Sept 29th for the winter.
I got one of these passes - it gets you into Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Windsor Castle (I think) and Hampton Ct. palace, as well as such lesser sites that you might not want to shell out for separately; like Inigo Jones' Whitehall banquet hall and the Jewel Tower (the remains of the Westminster castle behind Westminster abbey), and the Memorial arch at Hyde Park corner. It gets you into a lot of places - you probably wouldn't be able to get to all of them in a day or two. There's a web site (Search for London Pass) and the card comes with a guide book. Available at the tourist office a block from Trafalgar square, so you don't need to order before leaving! (The same place also sells British Heritage Passes for many of the sights/sites outside of London.)
Nov 24th, 2002, 12:47 PM
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The London pass is available at many sites in London and is available in several versions (1,2,3, and 6 days, IIRC). There have been several posts here on Fodors about it, most of which agree that it's not a good deal for most visitors. Just do a search on ""London Pass."

Cost-out your own itinerary and preferences. For instance, of the OP's list, only the Tower, the Tate, and Buckingham Palace (when it's open) are on the London Pass, and most of the rest of the places on the list are free.
Nov 24th, 2002, 07:45 PM
Russell Farquer
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Royal Air Force Museum...for history and airplane buffs.

Changing of the Horse Guard...much more interaction....check schedule for which days

London Transportation Museum...interesting for adults and children
Nov 24th, 2002, 09:39 PM
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You didn't say if you wanted to visit the Maritime Museum and Greenwich - lovely trip by riverboat.
If you go there, visit the Fan Museum. It's unique!
Nov 25th, 2002, 05:17 AM
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A good time to avoid the British museum is on Sundays (most crowded)

Changing of the guard is every other day in the winter (check with your hotel concierge)

Watch out for pickpockets, especially on the tube and around Oxford street. Carry your purses on the front of your body, men carry wallets in your front pocket.
Nov 25th, 2002, 06:06 AM
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Dear Helpful Hints:
If you are going to be in London for at least a week you may want to purchase a 7 day Travelcard for use on the Underground & bus routes. All the sights you have on your list are in Zone One, for £16.20 you will get a week of unlimited travel with no time of day restrictions.
You need a photo card to purchase a Travelcard. You can bring an extra passport photo or use the photo booth in the Underground stations. It's easy, the Underground agent will laminate your photo & present you with your photocard in a matter of minutes.
One more thing, if you can plan your visit to Harrods on a weekday morning, you will avoid the huge Saturday crowds.
Nov 25th, 2002, 07:52 AM
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Is this research for an article you are writing?
Nov 26th, 2002, 12:46 PM
Madame X
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-- go on one of the London Walks tours. They're fascinating, and have a wide range of topics -- from the beatles abby road tour to Oscar Wilde.

-- buy a Time Out London magazine when you arrive. The new issues come out on Wednesday. they list plays, walking tours, sample sales, museum exhibits, mini-restaurant reviews... terrific!
Nov 26th, 2002, 01:28 PM
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Purchase your Tower of London ticket in advance. They will give you a voucher and when you arrive at the tower you may avoid a block or longer line.

Arrive at the London Eye about the time it opens in the morning and you will have little or no wait.

Nov 26th, 2002, 03:56 PM
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Look to the LEFT before stepping off a curb.
Nov 26th, 2002, 05:58 PM
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Ken, I have always found that looking to the RIGHT is of more immediate importance when stepping off a London curb.
Nov 27th, 2002, 04:38 AM
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Two tips from me.

Tower: don't stand in line for tickets. Buy them at any tube station in advance. Same price, no waiting.

River cruises: many services offer a 1/3 reduction on the cost of a boat trip, to Greenwich for example, if you show your travelcard.
Nov 27th, 2002, 08:57 AM
David White
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You're collecting a real "string of pearls" here....a few more:

Write away in advance for free tickets to see the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London (search this board for details).

More on the Tower. When visiting, arrive just before it opens (with those advance-purchase tickets). Go to the Crown Jewels exibit first, to avoid the line that form during peak times. New cafeteria inside the Tower grounds is pretty good place for a bite to eat.

Several museums are open "late" one evening per week.

The new covered courtyard of the British Museum is very impressive.

Harrods has a reputation among tourists, but for upscale shopping or browsing consider Fortnum and Mason on Picaddilly (street) or one of the shopping arcades, such as Burlington Arcade.

The Courtauld Gallery is a wonderful alternative to other larger art museums.

The Tate Modern is an acquired taste--the building is unique though, and the Millennium Bridge is a great way to walk between the museum and St. Paul's Cathedral. The new Globe Theatre is just next door to the Tate Modern--worth a visit.

Hope this helps.

Dave White

Nov 28th, 2002, 05:35 AM
Ben Haines
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All year, two places on the Victoria side of Buckingham palace are open, the Royal Mews with the ceremonial coaches and, when there is an exhibition, the Queen's Gallery. The outside of the palace is a huge, dull, grey building

Ben Haines, London

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