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Finalizing Itinerary

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May 25th, 2015, 03:29 PM
  #1
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Finalizing Itinerary

Well I'm not usually much of a planner; however, I've planned every hour (for the 1st leg anyway) to maximize our time, but we're NOT rigid - I do this knowing we can change our plan at any second to "go with the flow," do something unplanned or just relax and people watch, etc. But still curious if you notice any glaring flaws in my time-frames

Also, still trying to plan for PARIS - so any suggestions for this 3rd leg of our trip would be especially helpful!! We really like the idea of just wandering around different neighborhoods of Paris...

London
Sat:
9:30 am Arrive Heathrow
10-11 - Tube to Holborn
11:30 - Drop bags at hotel
12-1:30 - Walk to Covent Garden - grab lunch
1:30 Westminster (Self) Walking Tour
 Go inside Westminster Abbey (open until 3pm)
 Walk by Big Ben / Houses of Parliament
 Go inside Churchill War Rooms (open until 6pm)
 Walk by 10 Downing Street
 Walk through St. James Park
 Walk by Buckingham Palace
7 - grab dinner
8 - London Eye or Shard? (if we're still awake by this point)
10 - Crash for good night's sleep

Sunday
9am - Madame Tussauds
11am - Sherlock Holmes museum
12:30 - Little Venice Pier - boat ride to Camden Lock pier
1:30-3:30 - explore Camden Town/Lunch
4-6 - Golders Hill Park (heath)
7 - Dinner L'Artista - Golders Green
8:30-10 Hampstead Village - Dessert/Coffee

Monday
8:30 - St. Paul's Cathedral
12 - Northbank Restaurant on water for Lunch
1-3 - Walk Millennium Bridge & pop into Tate Modern
3-7 - Explore Borough Market/Southwark Cathedral/Grab dinner
7:30 - Globe theatre - see show

Tuesday
9am Tower of London
1pm - Lunch Dickens Inn - St. Katherine's docks
2:30-3:30 - Tower Bridge
4pm - Piccadilly circus/Trafalgar Sq/National Gallery
7pm - see show

Wednesday
8:30 train
10 - Warner Bros/Harry Potter Studios
1:30 - Train
2:30 - Euston Station/Kings Cross/St. Pancreas
4 - Tea - Kingsway Hall
6 - British Library
OR 4pm Train to Warwick to visit friends for the night

Thursday
7am-7pm Tour Bus from London (or meet 10am in Stratford if we stay in Warwick the night before)
-Stratford
-Cotswolds
-Oxford
7-10 - Oxford/Regent/Carnaby streets shopping experience

Friday
-Make sure we took a double decker at some point
-Sherlock Holmes museum (if we missed it Sun)
-maybe Covent Garden/Leicester Sq.
-Abbey Road/ASL
-Harrods/Hyde Park
-whatever else we feel we missed
6pm Flight out of Gatwick
8pm Arrive Amsterdam

Amsterdam
Saturday
9 am - Rijksmuseum
Explore/Lunch
1pm - Van Gogh Museum
Explore/Shop/Dinner

Sunday
10-3 - Countryside bike tour (from Museumplein and south)
3-4 - Hotel/Shower
4-7 Explore
7 - Anne Frank House

Monday
8-11:30 Thalys Train to

Paris
12-2 Hotel check in (Staying in Latin Q)
Explore neighborhood/Walk down river
Best places to go for night-time views of the city?
(we dread the thought of line for the tower - though we might go for it)

Tuesday (or Wed)
-Day to Versailles

Still planning Wednesday- Fri - 3 full days/nights to include:

Must Sees:
-Notre Dame
-Louvre (we don't need long here - 2-3 hours tops) / Jardin
-Catacombs
-Eiffel Tower (if not Mon night) - Maybe get in easier/quicker by booking lunch at 58 Tour Eiffel (1st floor) and buying tickets from there to the top after lunch

Maybes:
-Neighborhoods:
----Montmartre (and Sacred Heart Basilica)
----La Marais
-Rodin Museum
-Musee D'Orsay
-River tour

Saturday
-Flight back to US
Fishnlines29 is offline  
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May 25th, 2015, 03:47 PM
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Book those Thalys tickets really early to save a lot - www.thalys.com

Trains London to Amsterdam vis Eurostar to Brussels can be as quick as flying and again deep discounted fares - about 4.5 hours London to Amsterdam Central Station - experience the Channel Rail Tunnel and admire the Garden of England - Kent from the train windows - stop off in Brussels perhaps for a few hours.

Great train info sites - www.seat61.com - good on discounted tickets info; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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May 25th, 2015, 04:14 PM
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Add La Chapelle if you can at all. You can see some gorgeous views through Google. It's quite near Notre Dame.

If you have any extra time in London, stop in the Victoria & Albert Museum.
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May 25th, 2015, 05:42 PM
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I don't usually deal w/ these sorts of super-detailed plans (since most will go off track about 2 hours into the first day) . . . But noticed one issue just skimming yours:

>>Mon: 3-7 - Explore Borough Market/Southwark Cathedral/Grab dinner<<

Borough Market doesn't operate on Mondays (or Tues. or Wed. or Sun.). Some of the restaurants are open but the market isn't.
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May 26th, 2015, 12:14 AM
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London, oh my dear, I'd hate to see how busy you are when you work

Quick thoughts,
1) Madame T is a complete waste of time and money, it was interesting about 200 years ago, given CGI, make up etc it is now very old hat
2) Great idea to be outside on the first day

3) Thursday looks incredible. Given that Oxford needs a min of half a day and the Cotswolds is a big place and for me is a min 2 day event it seems a pity to lump it in with Stratford which is mainly a 1960s planners nightmare with the odd old building in it (you do know Will did all his work in London right?)

4) London has some great shops, "Horrids"is not one of them. Look out Liberty, Fortnum and Masons, Harvey Nichs, etc etc or even just pick one from http://www.timeout.com/london/shoppi...ndon-full-list

Have fun
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May 26th, 2015, 05:06 AM
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Nevertheless Madame Tussaud's remains one of the top if not the top attended place in London - after the Tower I think. Lots of folks throwing the money away - personally I loved it each of the several times I've been there - always changing as the times change.
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May 26th, 2015, 05:48 AM
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PalenQ - yes, I probably should've mentioned I did get my flight to Amsterdam and Thalys tickets 90 days out (and cheap) and thanks to your guidance reading through the forum! Also, thanks for the support on MT, I know people don't like it but this is a mom/daughter trip and I know she'll love it since she's never been & I loved it at her age.

Janis - just the tip I needed for the market, I missed it.. I will rearrange my day, thanks!

Bilbo- Yes, I'm crazy at work too... and I agree, I wouldn't particularly care to go to Stratford same day, seems silly - but it's a Guided Bus Tour - not my first choice but I just couldn't figure out how to do it any easier on my own (to see Cotswolds without renting car) and we wanted to stop in Oxford briefly. We will likely visit friends in Warwick (10 mins from Stratford) the night before & pick up the tour bus there so it saves us the 2 hour bus ride from London in the morning.

I'll check out your other shop suggestions - though we weren't planning to shop at Harrod's just check it out cause it's kind of neat inside - do you think it's still a good stop?

Carolyn - thanks for the tip on La Chapelle, will check it out!

ANY advice on how to plan Paris greatly appreciated..
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May 26th, 2015, 06:29 AM
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IMO Harrods is Harrods and at least worth a trip to the food hall if nothing else. This whole "shop snobbery" thing is a waste of your time.
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May 26th, 2015, 07:41 AM
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Paris is very much smaller than London and a whole bunch of things are close together. There are a couple of "deportation" monuments I might add, the most obvious one is the eastern end of the island with Notre Dame on. I'm not Jewish/Gay/Roma (well a hint Roma), but they could have come for any us. There are other places.

Yes to D'Orsay, my favorite.

If going up the Eiffel is your thing you might look at an evening Bateau Mouche but I'd avoid supper.

For me, the Islamic Centre is a wonderful building while the cafe on the top has some great views and excellent mint tea.
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May 26th, 2015, 11:31 AM
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I also love Harrods, much maligned like MT and the London Dungeon by Brits here (who do not obviously represent the average Brit as Brits flock to both of those 'kitschy' attractions (you could visit another boring (for your daughter) museum instead I guess.

But Harrods check out the Egyptian Staircase (if still there since the father of the bloke who got killed with Princess Di in Paris who put it in along with a memorial to the ill-fated couple has I guess sold the store):

https://www.google.com/search?q=egyp...=1600&bih=1075

And the London Dungeon will be loved by kids too and many adults - it is I believe either #2 or #3 most paid tourist attraction in London - again always maligned by Brits and wannabe Brits whenever I mention it - but my son around that age loved it and any normal kid would!

https://www.google.com/search?q=lond...=1600&bih=1075

Glad you are thinking of kids' things and not just the so-called more cultural things and yes be sure to ride the Ferris Wheel that sits right in the Thames. First thing I would do - great way to orient yourselves to greater London.

another family favorite is the London Transport Museum on Covent Garden - lots of neat old trams, buses, etc and a great gift shop for all those Tranport for London logoed items.

http://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/

https://www.google.com/search?q=lond...=1600&bih=1075

and one other thing be SURE to take in a kid's friendly West End Play - maybe some classic musical like the Lion King, etc.
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May 26th, 2015, 11:34 AM
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Actually Borough Market operates basically 6 days a week http://boroughmarket.org.uk

Not all stalls are open early in the week but it is MUCH more enjoyable as it's not as busy. I avoid it on the weekends at all costs.
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May 26th, 2015, 12:08 PM
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Borough Market is also good in rainy weather as much of it as I recall is covered - part under railway viaducts.
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May 26th, 2015, 12:19 PM
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Since the Rijks is next door to the Van Gogh you won't be doing much exploring between the two. Get lunch at one or the other. Buy your tickets online. Same for Anne Frankhuis, even going so late there will be queues, and you could be faced with a closed, or closing, museum by the time you get to the front of the queue.
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May 26th, 2015, 12:35 PM
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If going to all three Rijks, Van Gone and Anne's House the National Museum Card may pay for itself with just those three and you get priority entry at museums:

http://www.amsterdam.info/museums/museumkaart/

buy it at any participating museum - a lesser one to avoid lines and with one you can pop into any of dozens of museums that you would not ordinarily pay to do so - and can come and go in an exhausting place like the Rijksmuseum.

Good for one year and not just in Amsterdam but all over Holland.
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May 26th, 2015, 12:37 PM
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Fish - there is also a Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam! that one I would skip if you've done the flagship one in London.
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May 26th, 2015, 01:13 PM
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PalQ must get commission from Madame Tussaud's and the London Dungeon - the two biggest tourist traps in London. Just because ton(ne)s of Brits pay to enter doesn't mean there's any wisdom amongst the mobs. At least the Tower (which ain't cheap either) is legendary.

And I want to know who really calls The Eye "the Ferris Wheel" on the Thames.

To the OP, go here: www.daysoutguide.co.uk and get all the 2for1 vouchers you want. Get a 7-day travelcard at a national rail station for both of you on arrival (bring little passport-size headshots of each of you). This matters if your girl is old enough to qualify for admission charges - you might as well save some money where you can. And those savings (e.g., Tower, War Rooms) are not small - you'll recoup a couple of meals' worth with the savings. If she won't get charged, stick with your Oyster card or whatever.

P.S. - Not thinking you're going to go from touch-down at Heathrow to Holborn in 90 minutes. Be flexible, as Mike Tyson said "everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."

To Bilbo, don't diminish the targeted atrocities with pabulum: "they" could not have "come for any of us" because the Nazis' plan was to annihilate the Jews, and wipe out other "untermensch" like homosexuals and Roma as and when they could. Neither Protestants nor Catholics in England were on Eichmann's priority lists for the train rides he coordinated in Central Europe.
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May 26th, 2015, 01:52 PM
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You still need to book a time at the Anne Frankhuis with the Museum card. You just don't pay as much - you still pay €50.50. If you don't book you join the queue with everyone else. No priority line.
I believe that is also the case at the Van Gogh now.

Having checked the online prices if OP is only visiting those three museums it makes no sense to buy a museum card. €44 for the online tickets vs €59.90 for the museum card.
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May 26th, 2015, 02:41 PM
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Yes -- if you try to 'pop in' to the Anne Frank House you will be in a queue of several hundred others and take hours to get in. I was there last month (with a timed ticket) and could not believe how massive the general admission line was. Blocks long.
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May 26th, 2015, 02:46 PM
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I thought that your Day 1 was very optimistic - you will be very lucky to get to your hotel before lunchtime. however the afternoon walking tour is a very good idea - you can do as much or as little of it as you can manage.

perhaps though schedule the War Rooms for another day? they deserve more attention than you will probably be able to give.

Big Russ - I'm sure that Bilbo can fight his own battles but surely saying that they could have come for any of us is hardly diminishing the suffering of those they targeted. I don't remember German Protestants [or indeed anyone] who stood up to them getting an easy ride - Dietrich Bonhoeffer being a case in point.
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May 27th, 2015, 07:06 AM
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PalQ must get commission from Madame Tussaud's and the London Dungeon - the two biggest tourist traps in London. Just because ton(ne)s of Brits pay to enter doesn't mean there's any wisdom amongst the mobs>

Wow calling tons of Brits complete idiots! Well done.

I would have mentioned the Trocadero Center but it is in the throes of a much needed rehab - and for older kids - teens bored with museums seeking a little adventure of their own.
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