Help with London Itinerary

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Jun 13th, 2016, 10:38 AM
  #1
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Help with London Itinerary

Hello! I’m planning a trip to London the last week in September, from the 24th to October 2nd. I will be there one day earlier, joined by my Mother and sister on the 25th and flying out on the 2nd. I’ve tentatively decided on the Grange Beauchamp for out hotel, but haven’t ruled out the Lime Tree yet either. I’m needing some help with my itinerary and as usual am asking for advice here! I am trying to see what we consider “must do’s” but without just going from one museum to the next. My Mother’s birthday is Wednesday, so I’m also trying to work in a two day/one night trip to either Bath or the Cotswold’s and would welcome suggestions there (realizing we'll be double dipping on a hotel, but it seems easier than trying to get back to Heathrow for a 7:30 AM flight on Sunday). My questions are – is this feasible/in a logical order? Am I allowing too much time/not enough? Suggestions for dining around these areas, or additional activities to break up the museums? I've inquired about a beer/cheese tasting at Leadenhall and a Stonehenge sunset tour. Will also try to fit in a play/musical.

Sunday
Arrive 8:30 AM Heathrow
Sunday Roast at Marquis Cornwallis
British Museum (tour with docent at 14:00)

Monday
Full English Breakfast (The Wolseley)
Tour Buckingham Palace, Gardens, & Royal Mews (has anyone taken the guided tour of the gardens?)
Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason
Harrods

Tuesday
Westminster Abbey (get there early, take tour with Verger)
Churchill War Rooms
London Eye

WednesdayDay trip
Thursday Day trip

Friday
Changing of the Guard (I’m fine w/ skipping, M&S insist)
V&A Museum
National Gallery

Saturday
Tower of London (crown jewels first then Beefeater tour)
St. Paul’s
The Globe (walk past)
Tate Modern

Sunday
Flight 7:30 AM
olive22 is offline  
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Jun 13th, 2016, 11:07 AM
  #2
 
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I'd substitute the London Eye for British Museum on Day 1 - you may be wiped out after flight - riding the Eye is OK if tired but trekking thru the British Museum maybe not - and I think doing the Eye right away gives you a great orientation to London.

day trips by train - cheaper day return tickets have restrictions on leaving before 9 or 9:30 am on week days I believe but not on weekends -If a longer day trip like to Bath or Stratford book discounted fares in advance at www.nationalrail.co.ul - site also for schedules. Short in trips like Oxford (bus may be better depending on where you start from in London) or Cambridge just buy full-fare tickets that day if discounts are not much.

Check these sites for lots of info on English trains - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Jun 13th, 2016, 12:18 PM
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I wouldn't plan the Eye too closely until and unless you have weather forecasts. Then again, those change by the minute in London too.

It's www.nationalrail.co.uk for the info and schedules and booking. PalQ had a typo.

You need to overrule your mom and sis about the Changing of the Guard.

You also need to go to www.daysoutguide.co.uk and get seven-day travelcards for everyone and print vouchers galore because you have at least 3 sites covered (St Paul's, Tower, War Rooms).
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Jun 13th, 2016, 12:59 PM
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Thanks both! The links are very helpful and I was wondering about the British Museum being too much, I'll have to rethink that one.
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Jun 13th, 2016, 01:24 PM
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>>Tour Buckingham Palace, Gardens, & Royal Mews (has anyone taken the guided tour of the gardens?)<<

Have you already booked the tour? If not, the version including the garden tour usually sells out months in advance.

>>Friday
Changing of the Guard (I’m fine w/ skipping, M&S insist)
V&A Museum
National Gallery<<

Reverse the order of things doesn't make sense - the National Gallery is walking distance from the Palace (assuming you stick w/ the Changing of the Guard. Harrods might fit in on this day better.
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Jun 13th, 2016, 04:30 PM
  #6
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Regarding the garden tour, I haven't booked yet but it looks like they are still available as of right now hopefully will still be the case once I get the itinerary down.
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Jun 13th, 2016, 04:33 PM
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Regarding the changing of the guard--if you go yourself you probably won't see much but other people vying for the same view. We went with London Walks who did a walk combining the changing of the guard with Westminster Abbey. That was a few years ago so don't know if they still do this walk or a similar version. They place you in a perfect spot where the new guards are marching past--no one in front of your view and you can get the perfect picture. You don't get to see the actual changing which is done inside the Palace gates but you get fantastic pictures really up close to the guards as they are marching past you.

Then we went into a side entrance by the Cloisters into the Abbey and had a 45 minute tour of the inside of the Abbey. It was a great tour.

We did a Palace tour with the Queen's gallery and Royal mews. We enjoyed the Royal Mews tour very much.
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Jun 13th, 2016, 08:20 PM
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Hello, I just came from UK and had the same questions.

DEFINITELY got he BATH for the day..take the train by yourself, walk 3 blocks to the Roman Baths, if you make it in the morning..at 2pm there is a sign at the entrance for a free walking tour..guides are locals and wont even accept a tip..this suggestions of going by myself by train and for the day was the best. I arrived 1030 and left 1745...would have liked more time for a bike ride along the river or a boat trip....
Buy the ticket at the entrance. they give u for free and audio guide and you will find guides all along the place with wonderful information!!
ADORED Bath!... see the Circle... do the walking tour

Cotswolds I did it on a one day tour by bus Warwick castle/cotswolds/stratford/oxford

PLEASE DONT MISS Oxford!! you pass along the Cotswolds..there are one day trips that GET DOWN at the Cotswolds..not the Golden Tours..there is another day trip that stops at one of the villages

Suggest a day trip to WINDSOR..also by train u see the Castle from the trian and walk one block to the gate and buy the ticket whenu arrive..also free audio guides and guides all along the Castle..the town is lovely and you can walk to Eton just crossing the river..you can have a 40 mins boat ride..check the hours and days open tothe public..dont miss it it is just a 5 mins walk...

cheers

Dolores
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Jun 13th, 2016, 08:31 PM
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Can I suggest something? London by night..the yellow bus that leaves next to the Ritz at Green Park...they start like at 8pm and you can even do it at 9.45pm and not waste the day time...
Suggest you take the hop on hop off 24+24 hours and do the main itinerary which includes a guide... so you can have a look of central London..London is big..and spreaded.. I mainly walked ...no tube nor buses... take the hop on hop off (I bought it from Golden Tours 24 hrs plus 24 free) and it gets you all around the city...so no need of the Oyster visitor etc.

Yes I agree London Eye leave it for the night .. I had a wonderful sunny dry week.
One hour boat tour to Greenwich..wonderful small town u can visit the observatory...

The Golden Tours also offers a FREE walking Royal tour for the change of guard... I strongly recommend this..meeting point Leicester Square at 10/ changing of guard starts at 11 and they will take you to smart points to watch the old and the new guard.. and is included in the Golden Tours 24 + 24
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Jun 14th, 2016, 08:11 AM
  #10
 
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Don't waste time or money on the Hop on/off tours. Very expensive, VERY SLOW progress through central London (because London traffic sucks) and you can take regular buses to see the same stuff. Information about London is easy to access, you don't need some bored Brit pointing out buildings as you drift by on a bus.

There is no "free" walking Royal tour - it is part of the HoHo ticket purchase.
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Jun 14th, 2016, 08:42 AM
  #11
 
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We visited Bath and London last month and I have a suggestion. Travel to Bath directly from Heathrow. You can take the National Express coach from the airport or, as we did, hire a driver who took us to Stonehenge on the way to Bath (http://www.taxi2flight.co.uk/). The coach is very budget friendly.

Reserve a Mad Max tour of the Cotswolds for your second day in Bath. If you only want to devote two days to Bath and the Cotswolds on the 3rd morning take the train to London.
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Jun 14th, 2016, 10:35 AM
  #12
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London Walks no longer offers the Westminster Abbey/Changing of the Guard tour, but City Wonder does - has anyone taken it? I'm considering it just because otherwise the Changing of the Guard monopolizes an entire morning and I like the idea of a guided tour of Westminster Abbey (really wanted to do with a verger but that's no guarantee either I guess). I'm just concerned it's a very quick tour of the abbey if the entire thing is 2.5 hours including the changing of the guard. I've emailed them for clarification but haven't heard anything back.
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Jun 14th, 2016, 11:15 AM
  #13
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Also - if I am able to get tickets for the garden tour of Buckingham Palace, along with the State Rooms & Royal Mews - does anyone have a suggestion for how long I should allow? I'm thinking 4 hours? Too much?
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Jun 14th, 2016, 02:39 PM
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It won't take 4 hours -- about 2.5 hours would allow time for the State Rooms, Gardens and (pretty extensive) gift shop. My last visit to the Palace took less than 2 hours, but that was a very small group, evening champagne tour.

The Mews really depends on how interested you are in the carriages/coaches. 15 mins to an hour.
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Jun 14th, 2016, 06:35 PM
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We took a tour of the Mews and that lasted about an hour--very informative--highly recommend it if you can. She explained each of the coaches and a little bit about the horses.

State rooms can get really crowded. We didn't do a special garden tour so can't comment on that--we had a combination ticket with the Queen's Gallery, Royal Mews and the State rooms if I recall correctly.

London Walks may not do the combo tour anymore with Westminster Abbey but they still do a changing of the guard tour--I highly recommend it. If your group wants to see the changing of the guard this is the best way to do it in my opinion.

Another highly recommended thing to do is to take a tour of Parliament. Other than the crazy lady I had at security (read my latest trip report on London) the tour itself was very interesting.
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Jun 20th, 2016, 06:46 AM
  #16
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Great responses, much appreciated, I have revised my itinerary based on these. I am now looking at renting a flat for the week at 122 Southampton Row, is this a decent area? It's right around the corner from the hotel we were looking at (Grange Beauchamp) so I think it's ok? Any thoughts?
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Jun 20th, 2016, 06:50 AM
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It is a fine location - very close to the British Museum and Russell Sq tube station.
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Jun 20th, 2016, 06:50 PM
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We just stayed in this area and there are lots of restaurants to walk to. We also used the laundry service offered by LaundaVista just 2 blocks off Southampton Row.
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