Day 1 in London - Too busy?

Feb 8th, 2009, 08:24 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6
Day 1 in London - Too busy?

Hi all,

Starting to put together the itinerary for our April trip to London. I had a question about our first day.

We are taking an overnight flight from NYC and will land on Good Friday at 9:30 AM in Heathrow.

So far, I have the following planned:

- check in at hotel near Gloucester Road station
- Tower of London
- Cruise to Westminster Abbey
- Tour Westminster Abbey
- Evening free to relax/walk around

Is this too ambitious for a first day? It's been a LONG time since I've been on a transatlantic flight and my husband has never been. So, I'm not sure how jetlag will affect us.
MrsAbel is offline  
Feb 8th, 2009, 08:31 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 25,266
I think it's too ambitious because it fails to take into account the time it will take you to get through immigration, luggage and customs, and make your way to your hotel. Even assuming everything goes really smoothly, it will be 11:00-11:30 before you check in. By the time you shower and have lunch, you'll have time for possibly one activity in the afternoon. I personally like to spend that day just wandering around and getting my bearings, but you could do one "tourist attraction" as long as it isn't one that'll put you to sleep (do NOT go to the theatre the first night -- sleeping through the show after an overnight flight is rite of passage!)
sf7307 is offline  
Feb 8th, 2009, 09:52 PM
Join Date: May 2005
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You won't be able to tour Westminster abbey on Good Friday
alanRow is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 02:03 AM
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You could do the Tower of London in the afternoon but I think it might be extra busy over the bank holiday so if I were you I'd leave it till the next day and get there early.

Westminster Abbey is open only for worship on religious holidays, so that's another one for the Saturday instead.

How about a mooch round a free museum/gallery instead followed by an early dinner and a wander round. That way you can cut it short if you find yourselves getting tired without really losing out.
nona1 is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 02:05 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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You are close to the Natural History Museum, Science museum, and V&A, so take your pic. The science museum has an IMAX screen if you want something a bit different but local to relax at on your first night.
nona1 is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 02:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,655
I'd also suggest carrying on up Exhibition Road to Hyde Park, or getting a bus from Gloucester Road to Hyde Park Corner, to go for a walk in the park and get some air - you can see the Albert Memorial and maybe the Serpentine Gallery.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 02:13 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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In case your room isn't ready for an early check-in, the hotel should hold your bags for you so I'd just grab some lunch & do as Nona suggests & hit the V&A or another museum that first day.

You can always expand your plans if you're not having much jetlag. The hop-on-hop-off bus is another option.
Carrybean is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 05:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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ditto the suggestion of walking north up to Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park for a nice long stroll.

What I would do is get to your hotel, check in, take a nap, then go for a walk. Have an early dinner and go to bed.

I would avoid visiting Tower of London (or any heavy-duty tourist sites) on arrival day. By the afternoon, jet lag sets in and you'll be wandering around in the museum or any sites in a daze.

I find that strolling outdoors (eg, window shopping or walking in parks) help me fight the jet lag with the fresh air and I don't really need to concentrate much - something you'd need if you visit a museum or Tower of London.
yk is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 06:10 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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I'll pile on with the others and say don't go to the Tower of London on your arrival day. Save it for another day, when you can go fresh and early in the morning.

Personally speaking, I don't like having plans set in stone for my arrival day. You never know, your flight might be delayed, immigration may be slower than usual, you might feel worse (or better) than you think.

I'd plan on getting settled in, having something nutrious to eat, and just getting outside into the fresh air and (hopefully) some sunshine.
Apres_Londee is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 07:22 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,148
Walking outside is the best cure I know for jet lag. If you felt like you just had to see it, a walk around the area of Westminster Abbey, Parliament and Big Ben and Whitehall would give you good dose of London on your first day. If it's nice, walk across bridge to South Bank of Thames and see the view back to it all from the other side of the river.
laurie_ann is offline  

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