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December Trip - First Leg - First time in London (5 days)

December Trip - First Leg - First time in London (5 days)

Jun 24th, 2013, 01:42 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 3
December Trip - First Leg - First time in London (5 days)

I am currently planning a trip for mid-December that will take me to:
London (5 days)
Paris (4 days)
Heidelberg (4 days)
Rome (5 days)
Madrid (4 days)

As I started planning I would like to get some opinions on my plans for the first leg of my trip, that is London. I am really looking forward to it, but I want to make sure that I do not bite more than I can chew. I am a big museum/history guy and do not mind walking around the city and mingling with the locals. I would really appreciate any input regarding my London itinerary. As I make progress with my plans for the other cities I will post them as well.

London

Day 1 (arriving at noon on a Saturday)
- Victoria and Albert Museum
- Piccadilly Circus
- Queen's Theater (Les Miserables)

Day 2
- Imperial War Museum
- Walk to the Borough Market
- Southwark Cathedral
- HMS Belfast
- City Hall / The Shard / Tower Bridge (Sightseeing)
- Cleopatra's Needle
- Chinatown

Day 3
- Tower of London (at opening time)
- Pass by the Monument to the Fire of London
- All Hallows-by-the-Tower church
- St. Paul's Cathedral
- Drink a pint at the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
- Temple Church
- Lam and Flag for a bite to eat

Day 4
- Madame Tussads (since it opens earlier than the British Museum)
- Sherlock Holmes Museum
- British Museum
- British Library (if there is time)

Day 5
- London Bridge / Parliament Sq.
- Change of Guard / Buckingham
- Westminster Abbey
- Horse Guard Place
- Trafalgar Square / National Gallery

I am aware that the sun sets at around 3:50pm in winter time. I am also open to suggestions that would make visiting these places possible, or deleting/adding locations. I have not planned most of the night fun yet.

Thank you in advance to all for helping me make my first trip to London a great one

Rod
rckenshin is offline  
Jun 24th, 2013, 02:02 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,494
First day is tough if you get jet lag. If you sit in a theatre in the evening you will wake up at the end.

Madame T is a complete waste of time, drop it and move something else there

Try and see the troops on horses not the guys walking about (it takes a long time and nothing much happens) http://www.royal.gov.uk/royaleventsa.../overview.aspx

http://www.changing-the-guard.com/ot...al-events.html

also you may want to dig out the ceremony of the keys

http://www.trooping-the-colour.co.uk/keys/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Churchill_War_Rooms
bilboburgler is offline  
Jun 24th, 2013, 02:41 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,505
Day one is awful - IF you are flying in long haul.

Theatre on your arrival day is pretty much a non-starter mainly due to jet lag. Sitting in a dark theatre for 3 hours when you really want to be home in bed is miserable.

Plus, a major museum on arrival day is really hard.

>>London Bridge / Parliament Sq.
- Change of Guard / Buckingham
- Westminster Abbey
- Horse Guard Place
- Trafalgar Square / National Gallery<<

I assume you mean Westminster Bridge since everything else you mention is w/i a short walk of each other. London Bridge is way down river. OR - if you mean the famous 'pretty' bridge - that is Tower Bridge next door to the Tower of London. London Bridge is just a modern bridge.

I'd skip the Changing of the Guard. Especially in December - standing in one place for 2+ hours will likely be frigid to miserable.

Day four is doable without Mme Tussaud's - with it the day is VERY difficult.
janisj is online now  
Jun 24th, 2013, 02:57 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,563
Another vote to drop the house of wax. Just looking at artistic candles, really. And for a high admission fee too.

This is nonsense: Change of Guard. It's a long wait pressed against the Palace gates with a few hundred of your newest friends who watch a mini parade of guards perform some show tunes. It is NOT a military display or a solemn transition of protective responsibility like the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in the US.

When you're in London, the Monument to the Fire of London is just "the Monument."

The original London Bridge is in Arizona. The current one is a not-so-interesting concrete arch. You evidently know the difference between London Bridge and Tower Bridge based on your itinerary so why the former is interesting is a bit mysterious (many new visitors think the iconic Tower Bridge is London Bridge). London Bridge is also near the Monument, not near Parliament Square so if you're going to walk by, do that on your Monument/St. Pauls/Tower day.

Why Les Mis? If it's to see the iconic musical, sure. But if you're not into melodramatic pseudo-operatic (there's nearly no conversation, the dialogue is sung) stage shows, then reconsider. It's long, and if you're not into the drama, it is dull. Billy Elliot, even with its ridiculous paeans to Great Britain-the-union-shop, is far more accessible.

Don't overestimate how much you'll be able (or willing) to walk around.
BigRuss is offline  
Jun 24th, 2013, 03:06 PM
  #5  
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 3
Yea, I meant the Westminster Bridge

I may indeed trade off the Changing of the Guard with seeing the Horse Guard Parade, maybe?

Can I the following in one day?

- Westminster Abbey (being there at 9:30am)
- British Museum
- British Library
rckenshin is offline  
Jun 24th, 2013, 03:14 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,505
Yes - as long as you don't spend 5 hours in the British Museum.

I'd really re-think your first day . . .
janisj is online now  
Jun 24th, 2013, 03:33 PM
  #7  
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 3
So far all the comments have been incredibly helpful. Here is what I have modified it so far to.

Day 1 (leaving Miami - 10:40pm & arriving at noon Saturday)
- Piccadilly Circus and maybe check out Chinatown

Day 2
- Imperial War Museum
- Walk to the Borough Market
- Take a quick look at Southwark Cathedral
- HMS Belfast
- City Hall / The Shard / Tower Bridge (Sightseeing)
- Temple Church

Day 3
- Tower of London (at opening time)
- Pass by the Monument to the Fire of London
- Check out All Hallows-by-the-Tower church
- St. Paul's Cathedral
- Drink a pint at the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
- Lam and Flag for a bite to eat
- Queen's Theater - Les Miserables (at night)

Day 4
- Cleopatra's Needle (early morning)
- British Museum
- British Library
- London Eye (at night)

Day 5
- Westminster Bridge / Parliament Sq./ Big Ben
- Horse Guard Parade
- Pass by Buckingham
- Westminster Abbey
- Trafalgar Square / National Gallery

I think this fits more to what you guys are telling me.
rckenshin is offline  

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