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First-timers go to London - our itinerary

First-timers go to London - our itinerary

Old Feb 25th, 2004, 03:46 PM
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First-timers go to London - our itinerary

I'm hoping for some helpful advice/comments on our upcoming London trip (March 19-27). Going on the trip will be myself, DH and DS, 11. Here is the trip as planned so far:
Day 1 - arrive Heathrow at 13:30-Check into flat in South Kensington-London Eye
Day 2 - Hop on/hop off bus tour of major sites - British Museum
Day 3 - Day in the countryside - possibly Avebury/Stonehenge
Day 4 - Tower of London (am)-London zoo (pm)
Day 5 - Daytrip to Paris (tickets already booked)
Day 6 - Natural History Museum-shopping at Harrods
Day 7 - Windsor Castle
Day 8 - leave for Seattle

I've left the evenings open as we are normally early-to-bed people. Any advice or suggestions?
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Old Feb 25th, 2004, 04:45 PM
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For once I am almost tempted to say you haven't scheduled enough to see/do. That must be a first - most folks try to squeeze 9 different things on far opposite sides of London into the same day.

But you will be fine - just have a list of other places you are interested in seeing and pick 1 or 2 a day if you have time.

A couple of suggestions -- I would start the hop-on-hop-off buss tour on day 1. The tickest are good for 24 hours and also include a short river cruise. So start it on the first afternoon, get off somewhere near Weestminster, take a ride on the Eye and maybe even take more of the bus tour after that. Then the next day take more of the tour, get off near the Brtitish Museum, then hop on another bus when you are done with the museum. That afternoon you can take boat ride.

On day 6 plan on checking out the Science and/or V&A museums after the Natural History. they are all next door to each other, are all free, and you can just visit them briefly or tour them in detail as your interest/feet dictate. Then you can walk up Brompton Rd to Harrods.
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Old Feb 25th, 2004, 04:54 PM
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That's a great idea for the hop-on/hop-off bus tour. I hadn't thought about getting tickets the day we arrive, but it makes sense. I know it doesn't seem like we've planned a lot, but my family always complains that I plan too much and then they have no 'down time'. I do have a list of additional things to do such as Kensington Palace that I will fit in depending on how we feel.
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Old Feb 25th, 2004, 05:04 PM
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You are wise not to schedule too much. Just have a list of other things to see if time allows.

Some of the posts we see here really amaze me -- "11:30 Verger's tour, 12:15 Cabinet War rooms, 1:05 Tower of London, 3:00 Eye" . . and so on. I'm exaggerating - but only a little.

You will have a great time.
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Old Feb 26th, 2004, 05:14 AM
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Hi
London has so much to offer that on such a short visit I wouldn't put Windsor Castle as a top priority, or at least not allow all day.
I'd add in the Imperial War Museum. Or if you want a day out, I think the maze at Hampton Court Palace is a pretty great experience for people of all ages, and the palace is less about ornate furniture and paintings than Windsor is.
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Old Feb 26th, 2004, 05:29 AM
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I'd agree with Elaine with regards to Windsor Castle (actually, now that I think about it, I tend to take Elaine at her word on pretty much anything travel-related. I never would've planned my first trips to Paris and London without her and her files. She just doesn't know it cuz back then I was more lurker, less poster. Belated thanks Elaine!) But sorry, back to London -- I know you said you're early evening types, but are you planning on seeing any shows? I'd suggest Westminster Abbey as well, but that may be on your secondary list? How about Covent Garden? It's touristy, but kids tend to enjoy the area (oh heck, I'm 33 and I hang out there too )
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Old Feb 26th, 2004, 06:24 AM
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Thank you for your replies and advice. I just realized that I forgot to list that we are going to Hampton Court Palace on one of the mornings. My son is looking forward to the maze. We are also planning an evening in the Covent Garden area.
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Old Feb 26th, 2004, 06:32 AM
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KInd words, thanks

I absolutely agree to add in W'minster Abbey, if only for an hour. The Verger's Tour is great. It has well more than 1000 years of history, like the Tower.
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Old Feb 26th, 2004, 10:09 AM
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The Verger-led tours last 90 minutes,and take place at these times.
Winter: November to March
Monday-Friday 1000, 1100, 1400, 1500
Saturday 1000, 1030, 1100.
Cost is £4.00 per person.
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Old Feb 26th, 2004, 10:47 AM
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It may sound corny but I was roped into this kicking and screaming and ended up loving it - Jack the Ripper tour. IT is a walking tour and starts across the street from Tower of London. It isn't alot of walking so don't be afraid that you will walk endlessly for hours ! They walk, stop, talk, etc. It usually isn't soemthing I would enjoy but I want to do it again when I go back. You can get great Chinese and Indian food in London so if you like either make sure and try it ! Thai food is good as well - and there are tons of reasonable places to eat that haev great food. Believe it or not - around Leicester Square ! There is a great Mexican restaurant there too ! I was shocked !
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Old Feb 26th, 2004, 10:51 AM
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One more item - for your day in the countryside: if you can plan a trip on 'market day' you would enjoy it. They sell anything from fruit/veggies to clothes in all the small towns. Near Stonehenge is Salisbury and you can visit the cathedral there - the tallest spire in England. Very cute town. On the town square (where the market is) is a great bakery with sandwiches, pastries, and the absolte best cornish pastie ever (filled with mean, carrots, potatoes) - if you have never had one give it a try ! I lived there for a few years and ate lunch every Saturday from that place - Reeve the Baker ! Salisbury is a nice town to walk around in at any time and is only 10-15 min from Stoenhenge. Also, if you are into markets the Portobello Road market is one not to be missed. You can do a search on yahoo for "portobello road market' in london and get all the info. It's fun !
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Old Feb 26th, 2004, 11:09 AM
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London is also a great place to see a play. Not sure about the age of your kids, but when we were there 2 years ago, we took our 3 kids (ages 5,8,11 at that time) to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Paladium. They loved it and keep waiting for it to come to the states.
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Old Feb 26th, 2004, 11:10 AM
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Forgot to add that this is a great play for adults as well.
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Old Feb 26th, 2004, 07:49 PM
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Please do put Westminster Abbey on your list; for us it's the most historic place in London, even more so than the tower. You can attend Evensong if you wish, sitting up in the choir.

My next "please add" is the Churchill War Rooms; it's a remarkable place to visit, especially if you go after seeing the memorial stone to Churchill set in the floor of Westminster Abbey.
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