Doable plan for 7 days in London?

Feb 6th, 2002, 07:17 PM
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Doable plan for 7 days in London?

Arrive Monday at 8:00 a.m.
1) Bus tour--red and green routes, purchase phone car, munchies for room, pub meal, sleep.
2) Tuesday--Harrods/Abbey/St. Paul's.
3) Wednesday--Tower/Bridge Exp./Dungeon and/or Tower Pageant/Ceremony of the Keys.
4) Thursday--Cotswolds/Oxford/Stratford (bus tour).
5) Friday--Madam T/Holmes/Brown's for tea/theatre.
6) Saturday--Paris (British Shrinkers).
7) Sunday--Brompton/BBC/British Museum/Dickens.
8) Monday--Windsor (all day).
9) Tuesday--Leave at 4:00,pickup at 2:00 (anything we could do in that short time).
First time to London and not enough time to see everything. I'm sure there are other things that should not be missed but not enough time----THIS TIME!! I would appreciate any suggestions given. I certainly don't want to feel rushed, but the above seems like too much and I've already eliminated ideas already.
Feb 6th, 2002, 07:21 PM
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Please excuse any typos. Just seeing this in print really seems like too much. Back to the start with any/all suggestions.
Feb 6th, 2002, 07:31 PM
Bob Brown
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My suggestion is to drop out a couple of things and don't think that you must be at point x at time y. London has a way of luring off of the beaten bath and off of your schedule.
There are things that seem to pop out and say in effect stop and look at this.
My other comment is why the Paris extension. You will not have enough time to do more than take a look at a few buildings and perhaps enter the Louvre. Paris is just as time demanding as London, if not more so.
If anything I would cut out that silly wax museum.

I went on one of those bus orientation tours. I think it confused me more than anything. Pick an objective and get yourself there so you learn the way!
The only thing I remember from that bus tour is that the bus stopped somewhere where men were hawking various products.
The only product I recall was a figurine of a little boy who squirted water without the benefit of a water pistol or squirt gun. Shows how much the blooming tour did for me.
Other than that, I did fine.
We went like heck for 8 days, took one excursion to Stonehenge, and left with a long list of sites and sights unseen and unvisited.
There arer several prime attractions you don't have on your list: Kew Gardens, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Hampton Court, and the Houses of Parliament. Did you leave those off intentionally?
Feb 6th, 2002, 08:04 PM
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I'd drop the dungeon and the bridge tour and walk along the docks area next to the Tower, if the weather's nice. I would definitely add the British Museum. If you DO end up at the Vanderbilt, you can pop in and out of Harrods and don't need to schedule time for it (even doable on the morning you leave town).

I've heard the BBC tour is overrated--you might want to pose a question about that on this board.

You haven't really left time to just wander. Sunday, you could do the 8 or 9 Mass at Brompton (there's one every hour from 8 to 11--11 is in Latin), then head over to Covent Garden, which is full of buskers, open market, etc. Walk from Covent Garden through Charing Cross and Leicester Square and into Piccadilly Circus. If it's a nice day, it's a nice walk and will give you a feel for the lively part of London.

I'm excited for you--you're going to have a great time!
Feb 6th, 2002, 08:05 PM
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Almost forgot--The Victoria & Albert Museum is right by your hotel, as well and it's excellent. It also has a nice cafeteria-style restaurant in the basement that serves very good soup.
Feb 6th, 2002, 08:33 PM
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Thank you Mel! The BBC was for my brother because he missed it his last time in London and our whole family watch all the British programs (and I do mean all--we even tape them to re-watch especially the mysteries). We must be on the same wave length, I wasn't really interested in the Dungeon (thought my son might be). Bridge Experience was something my brother had not seen--both are dropped. I thought the Tower Hill Pageant might be interesting but think we'll visit Dickens and Soanes instead. We definitely will visit the British Museum. The V&A was on my first list, will put it back in. The walk sounds wonderful, have printed it out to take with me. My son (18) has always wanted to see Paris since he was about 10. We had booked a two day to Paris with British Shrinkers but it was canceled. The one day was all we could arrange. It's definitely not enough time but should give us a little taste of Paris. Also, will be at the K+K. The Vanderbilt was only available from April 1 to April 7 at the quoted rate.
Thank you for your quick response.
Feb 6th, 2002, 08:47 PM
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Too much regimentation - as Bob says - you will find so much of interest "by accident" that you shouldn't pre-plan so much. Plus - the weather will determine what you do on specific days.

A few comments:
if your flight leaves at 4PM you will need to be picked up LONG before 2PM. You must check-in at LHR 2 to 3 hours ahead of time so you will probably need to leave your hotel by noon at the very latest.

Drop Paris. Sure, many folks on this board will tell you to go for it. I Love paris and Love London - but I would never go to the expense of going to Paris unless I had a minimum of 2 nights there. Just not worth giving up a whole day in London just to say you've been to paris (Not "seen" Paris, mind you, but simply having been there)

You probably shouldn't schedule Westminster Abbey and St Pauls on the same day. Both take a while and are in different parts of town. St Pauls is a better fit geography-wise with the Tower or the British Museum.

Drop the Dundgeon/Tower pageant - not worth any time on a tight schedule like this one.

Madame Tussauds is a matter of taste - many will tell you to drop it, but some really enjoy it. If you buy a ticket ahead of time from the bus tour that allows you to "jump the queue", it may be worth it. But otherwise, the line can be over an hour just to get in.
Feb 7th, 2002, 01:56 AM
david west
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A few suggestions:

Lose: Bridge tour (it's a let down). Dungeon and Tussauds, both have very long queues and are very very disappointing.

Add: THe V&A. Its a gem.

Also you don't appear to have planned for the evenings. These could do a lot to your itinery, eg The Tate and Tate Modern both open until 10pm on some nights.

Also the Evenings are a good time to sight see, particularly in summer when it doesn't get dark until 930pm.

I would throw in a guided walk, you seem to have an interest in Dickens, so why not go on one of the Dickens walks, or a pub walk to see some of "real" London?

See a show and have a nice meal afterwards andyou have a great, if exhausting, itinery.

hope you enjoy it.
Feb 7th, 2002, 04:20 AM
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Glad to see that you've already reconsidered the very things I would have advised you to drop -- dungeon, bridge, Tussaud's.

Very glad to see you adding Soane's, it's one of my favorite places in London. You'll get a real sense of an extraordinary character! Quite a contrast the the overwhelming vastness of the V&A and British Museum, either of which could easily consume several days. Check out their web sites and plan ahead which exhibits you want to focus on.

I have to also second the above recommendations for an evening walk and for less regimentation. An afternoon off for relaxing in a park or shoping in a market will be a nice change of pace from all the musems and other attractions. At the same time I notice that nobody has commented on your Thursday tour of Cotswolds/Oxford/Stratford, which is biting off so much that you will surely just feel as if you have sat on a bus and watched a travelogue. A tour that tries to do less mght provide more pleasure.

Your son is only 18. Paris will still be there the next time he goes to Europe. Also, the night before this trip, which will start very early, is not the best night for your theater outing.

And finally, a 2:00 pickup will not do, since you must be at the airport by then! Pick a museum or other attraction near your hotel for the morning, but hit the road at noon.
Feb 7th, 2002, 04:21 AM
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pscaltreto, I seem to be missing something because I do not see where you mention your hotel or members of your traveling party. It sounds like you are doing a great job meeting the needs of different members of your group which is very important. I would leave Paris in for your son. It will leave everyone wanting more and you will be more determined to return. The same goes for London - you will not see everything anyway and will want to return. Try to keep your busy itinerary-I've done amazing things in awful weather-but stay flexible. I recommend that you decide which items on your schedule are "must do" and which are hopefuls. This is easier to do before leaving home. When you get there everything seems wonderful and you become less selective about what you drop. You can come home saying "I can't believe we didn't go to the British Museum". My specific thoughts on your itinerary are that, as another stated, St Paul's and the Abbey in one afternoon is too much. I would make the Tower a must and the Dungeon and pageant a mood item. I like Madame t's as did my family-buy tickets in advance and walk right in. I did my own driving in the Cotswolds, eliminating Stratford for Warwick Castle, a repeat that we loved, but taking a tour is a great stress reducer when following a busy itinerary. I would leave the tour in and relax.

Evryone does it their own way!

Feb 7th, 2002, 04:22 AM
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Also...I liked the idea of going to Harrods on your last morning in town!

Feb 7th, 2002, 04:53 AM
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I don't think your itinerary is "too regimented". I agree that you should prioritize the must-see's with the "if time allows". But I find if I don't have some type of schedule, I end up not seeing all the things I really wanted to see. That said, there should always be some wiggle room for walks in the parks or a nap in the afternoon!
Feb 7th, 2002, 05:38 AM
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Dear pscaltreto:
First of all, be assured that you're going to have a great trip! Your advance planning will help you leave with a better sense of what you saw, and also, what you need to see for next time.(Assume there will be a next time) I concur with the other posters that the
Tower Bridge Experience and dungeon tours are probably not worth the time. The London Tower itself, however is a fabulous experience, and not to be missed! There's those fabulous jewels, the history to be learned, and the architecture to examine. I also agree that St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey are too much for one day--I personally advocate WA, but that's IMHO. You didn't mention in the post above when you're going, but if your trip is not during the busiest months, then lines and crowds won't be such a problem. Also, on your first day, you might want to consider a Thames Cruise if weather permits--it gets you out in the fresh air, and lets you see and hear about many buildings and sights. The London Eye should be open again, and would be a great view--you can go to British Airways' website for more info--Buy tickets in advance to miss lines. Museums are tougher when you have a mixed crowd to please--the British Museum is a good choice, and depending on your son's interests, he may prefer the Museum of Natural History or the Museum of Science. The V and A is great, but incredibly overwhelming--best to choose a subject or area and see it rather than try to cruise the while thing. Also, the 3 museums I've just mentioned are in Knightsbridge, one tube stop from Harrods. You could combine a trip to Harrod's with a lunch break, or have lunch before you go to the museums. I buy a map in advance and use different color dots (office supply store) to indicate things we must see: blue dots for museums, red dots for shopping/strolling areas like Covent Garden, Piccidilly, etc. You will be amazed at how much it helps to see your own list of "must-see's" highlighted like this. It also helps you organize the time better, with less criss-crossing of town. Have a great trip!
Feb 7th, 2002, 06:04 AM
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my 2 cents
Skip the London Dungeon. I went there with 10 and 8 year old nephews and they thought it even more stupid than I did.
It is the only thing I've done in London that I consider a tourist trap.
It's expensive, tries hard to be shocking and scary, succeeds only in being expensive and in poor taste imo.
Tower Bridge was ok, not great. I wouldn't consider it to be a must, although at the end when you walk across the bridge, so high up, crossing the Thames, that was pretty neat but it lasts about 1 minute. The presentation is mildly interesting but not fascinating, it is fairly long, and it involves lots of walking up flights of stairs. I think it's a second tier thing to do, not a first tier.
Glad you're doing the Ceremony of the Keys, find a good place to go afterwards for a coffee and dessert.
I had looked into the Cotswolds/Oxford/Stratford bus tour thing for my London trip in 2 weeks. You don't say when you are going. I decided I preferred to go
(and I've been to Oxford before) when
the weather is nicer. That's your call.
Also, in winter Blenheim Palace outside of Oxford is closed, and when I go back to Oxford I feel I must go back to Blenheim because it's gorgeous.
The bus tour you mention gives you very little time in each of the 3 venues, but if you want it, that's fine.
I'm considering the BBC visit myself for the same reasons you mention; I hope it's worthwhile.
Feb 7th, 2002, 06:47 AM
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Well I am tired out just reading this Seriously, you are being over ambitious as many have already stated.
I'd also skip the day trip to Paris, you really do not have time to do it justice and it's a VERY long day (does anyone in your party ever get tired out?)

Your 2:00 pm pickup is unrealistic, even in good times. You need to be at the airport a minimum of 2 hours ahead of the flight and you must allow for traffic as well. I would plan on leaving your hotel at noon.

I'd also skip Madam T's - horrendous lines and unless you have all day to stand in line it's not worth it.

You can do Windsor in a 1/2 day tour if you want leaving some time for your other activities.

Tower Bridge is not worth the experience. Ceremony of the Keys is great (do you have tickets??).

You might want to consider the London Eye. Great views, different perspective of the city.

You are not allowing for any jetlag - it can kick in and slow you down.

Harrods & St. Paul's are on different ends of the city. Combine Harrods with V&A Museum instead to maximize time.

Leave some time for the unexpected (you have no time in your schedule for that and it is bound to crop up). Leave time for delays too - the tube is not as good as it used to be.
Feb 7th, 2002, 07:12 AM
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Your tour of Oxford, Stratford and Cotswold will give you a good overview of the area. We did the Evan Evans tour of Oxford, Stratford and Warwick Castle last year and was very pleased. We felt we had enough time and actually enjoyed the bus ride through the countryside. Our guide was very informative even during the ride she continued to tell stories and point out points of interest. I felt it was a great day spent and a way to see all three in a short period of time. I am not able to go to the same area several times because there are so many places I have not been so I try to see as much as I can when I am on a trip. On the day we went to Windsor, we did the London Eye early that morning then caught the nearby train to Windsor. We were back in London by 4 in time for dinner and a play. Have a great time.
Feb 7th, 2002, 07:31 AM
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My two cents' worth:
You've already ixnayed the losers from the itinerary (we did Mme Tussaud's on our third or fourth visit and liked it, but definitely should not be on the "7 day firsttime tour of London").

I make detailed itineraries to be sure I'm there when "it" is open, and also to try to organize things by neighborhood. As long as you're willing to blow off part or all of a day to do something different, the itinerary won't be a hindrance ("can we blow off St Paul's and watch the streetperformers?" "sure, unless mimes show up").

If your son has always wanted to see Paris, then by all means take him. It's a 3 1/2 hour trip each way, you'll only skim the surface of Paris, but then the Cotswolds/Oxford/Stratford bus tour will be the same sort of thing.

You're going to have a great time, and everyone will be asking when is the NEXT trip.


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