how long does it take to see...

Old Feb 5th, 2001, 06:58 AM
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how long does it take to see...

We are trying to fine tune our itneraries for trip to London next week, but even though we have 10 different tour books (which all lack to tell us about how much time we need for a site), we are having difficulty determing the approx. amount of time it takes to see/tour some the sites. Can anyone help? Approxiamtely, how long does it take to tour...
Tower of London?
Royal Mews?
St. Paul's?
Westminister abbey?
Houses of Parliment?
British Museum?
Kensington Gardens?

FYI- since we will be going next week, don't expect huge crowds. Also, there will be no kids traveling, so we should be able to cover more ground quicker

Old Feb 5th, 2001, 07:52 AM
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Hi Dave, I do not mean to be flip or sarcastic, but I think YOU can be the only person to determine how much "time" you need at a site. I personally love the British Museum and could spend days there(we are staying in Bloomsbury, just so I can run in when I feel the urge). I guess it should be entirely up to you.... Just really enjoy what you see and don't think of it as a chore...something to be done.....INVHO, Judy
Old Feb 5th, 2001, 08:12 AM
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I have to agree with the last poster, it all depends upon your interest in a place whether you want to "see" it or experience it. I've been to London many times and have not see all there is at the British Museum for instance. I believe most people seem to allow about 1/2 day for the Tower but you could spend all day there (and come back at night for the Ceremoney of the Keys should have you tickets for that). Basically it depends on you and your interests (and frankly, the weather can play a part in sightseeing too - some more outdoorsy activities may be passed over and museums substituted for example). Sometimes covering lots of ground is not really that much fun, stop and enjoy what you are seeing. Allow time to do the unexpected as well - sometimes those sights/moments are the best ones of the trip.
Old Feb 5th, 2001, 08:20 AM
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Hello, Dave
I understand your anxiety when trying to determine your itinerary.
I excorted a group of women to England and, at Windsor, for example, some went through in 45 minutes, whereas I took a couple of hours for the State Apartments alone. The entire Windsor experience could take at least half a day, if not more.

When we go, my husband and I make a list of the sights/events we wish to take in, make a chart (I KNOW!, but this works for us!)with the places, location, and days and times open.
We then prioritize what we wish to do and start putting them on the calendar.
We make sure to allow several hours or day(s) for the things we love. We will write in lesser sights on the calendar that would be in the same vicinity so that if we are finished earlier than we thought, we would still have something of interest to do. Or, we just find an outdoor cafe...

I can tell you what I planned and perhaps some others may share. But, as the previous poster said, it is a personal choice.
The Tower... one-half day
The Mews... 2 hours
St Pauls'...go for the Evensong (About 45 minutes) usually at 5:00 when we were there. 2hours total(?) to go to the top and see the church)
Westminster...3 to 4 hours. Again, I went to the Evensong and sat with the young boys in the choir! Enchanting!
Parliment...2-3 hours
British museum, minimum of 3 hours...up to an entire day or more
Kensington...rather small...2 hours
This is just a guide, I'm sure many other's will voice their opinions.
I wish you a lovely trip, Dave!

PS Before I took these ladies on the trip, I assigned a site for each of them to research and share in out monthly gatherings before the trip. I was amused to see that the assigned site was always their favorite!
Old Feb 5th, 2001, 08:58 AM
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Gigi gave you some pretty good approximate times. Although I haven't done everything on your list, I have done some so here are my approximates:
Tower of London--1/2 day
St.Paul's--About 2 hours (we climbed up all the way to the top. I still can't believe I made it!)
Westminster Abbey (2 hours. Although I'm sure the people who really know about the history of the place and the people buried here would take much longer). Kensington Gardens--I just took a quick walk around the lake area where there were swans and ducks (FYI:great photo opportunity), and it just took me about 45 minutes. I also went to see Kensington Palace--big disappointment. Well, actually I just didn't like the first part which is a clothing museum (what people wore in this time period/that time period). I liked the clothing, but the audio tour takes too much time describing every detail. I should have just admired, and walked on. Later in the tour, the architecture of the place was highlighted, which was much more interesting. Plus, I had given up on forcing myself to listen to every part of the audio tour by that time. I just listened to what I wanted to hear after that which was much more enjoyable. I wouldn't go back to Kensington Palace though.
Old Feb 5th, 2001, 09:01 AM
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I took the audioguide tours of Kensington Palace and Westminster Abby. Kensington Palace took 2-2.5 hours. St. Paul's was about 2.5 hours, including a climb to the top.

I very much enjoyed both tours because I don't know that much about the history of these places, but I like to hear about it while I am there. If you really don't like to go into things in much depth, then you could do St. Paul's in 45 minutes and Kensington Palace in one hour, but that would just be a walk-through, I think.

As for the Tower of London, I think I was only there about 2.5 hours, and that was not enough, but I had to leave early for other reasons. Once again, I really enjoyed the tour of the grounds, and it was free!
Old Feb 5th, 2001, 09:19 AM
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I think you are trying to fine tune too much. It is one thing to plan an itinerary for multiple cities, where there may be hotel, transportation reservations to be made in advance, but you seem to be trying to plan each day of your stay in London - day one: two hours here, three there, etc.

Even if you have good averages of how long people stay at a particular site, as some people above have tried to supply you with, this is no indication of how long you wil want to stay.

Rather than plan each day precisely, I suggest you pick oout which things you really want to see. 10 days should easily give you enough time to cover these. Then let whimsey. seremdipity, etc. be your guide.

Old Feb 5th, 2001, 12:02 PM
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I'm with Dave for asking this question. I'm sure he understands that he can determine the exact amount of time at each location. But getting "guesstimates" of how much time one might plan per location is simply trying to maximize a limited amount of time. I wonder about the same thing each time we visit a new location. It's a great thing to find that you have extra time but it is awful to find out that you cannot see your highest priorities because you ran out of time.
Old Feb 5th, 2001, 03:06 PM
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Gigi : "Before I took these ladies on the trip, I assigned a site for each of them to research and share in out monthly gatherings before the trip. I was amused to see that the assigned site was always their favorite!"

Very intereeting remark which shows once more that the more you prepare your trip, do research and know about the sites, the more you enjoy your visit.
Old Feb 5th, 2001, 03:10 PM
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Hi. Thanks for all your help and advice. As the last poster said, yes we know it depends on our own interests and all, and we cannot get exact time measurements, but estiamtes are such a huge help. We aren't trying to plan our iternary minute by minute (we are flexible!) but at the same time, we are only are there for a short period and it isn't like we get to go to Lodon every day, so it is important to us to cover as much ground as possible. This is just the way we plan we ideas of how long it might take (I had no idea St. Paul's would take that long! I thought it is like St. Pat's here in New York where you walk in and ooh and ahh some and leave) and it has always worked for us. So thanks again for everyone's suggestions on time length at these sites!
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 07:42 AM
Ben Rus
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While I can empathize with a prospective traveler’s wish to best manage precious time in touring London, I must admit that this posting does prompt my having intriguing flights of imagination. I picture tourists racing from Heathrow or Gatwick to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich to synchronize stop watches. In running shorts and Keds, stop watches in hand, starter’s pistol raised, at the entrance to the Sainsbury wing of the National Gallery: “We’ve got xxx nanoseconds to see Da Vinci’s “Virgin and Child with Saints Anne and John, luv. Take off at the sound of the pistol; you check out the Virgin and Anne, I’ll scope the Child and John. Should be back here in three minutes, eight seconds.” Or, “Gotta skip the Tower of London, hon. Turns out there’s twentyone towers there; we’ll never find the real one in eight minutes, sixteen seconds.” “How long should we spend in Westminster Abbey?”, she asks a verger. “Well, ma’am, it is entirely up to you. Edward the Confessor has been here 838 years, Elizabeth I, 398!” “ If we don’t visit St. Paul’s now, we never will; get a move on!” Well now, British monuments and treasures don’t have a tendency to vanish (though the British library moved a couple of blocks away from the British Museum and a lot of the Tate Gallery’s treasures ended up in a boiler factory across the river). The only London tradition to disappear recently was the Underground service on Monday last. Better to sit in a pub, order a lime rickey and smell the Rose’s.
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 10:02 AM
David White
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There's nothing wrong with your question, or with trying to plan your visit in a logical manner. Here are my guestimates:

Tower of London--at least 3 hours

Royal Mews--a hour (or less)

St. Paul's-- 45 to 90 minutes

Westminster Abbey--45 to 90 minutes (longer if you are a history buff)

Parliament--unless you have pre-arranged a tour, you won't get to see much. You can get into the "strangers" galleries, but you may have to wait in line.

British Museum--half a day (you could spend a week here though)

Kensington Gardens--45 minutes (less if weather is bad, more if weather is good)

A couple of other factors to consider:

--are you a "look, admire and go" visitor or are you a "look, read all the plaques, admire, and look some more" visitor? The time spent by each type of person will be vastly different.

--think about how long it will take you to get to the sites, not just how long you will spend there. The Tower of London, for example, is pretty far east of central Westminster and takes a while to reach on the Tube. On the other hand you just have to cross the street to get from Westminster Abbey to Parliament.

Hope this helps. Once you get there, be flexible and enjoy your visit...


David White
Old Feb 8th, 2001, 06:08 AM
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Running shorts? Starter's pistol? the mind boggles...
Old Feb 8th, 2001, 06:47 AM
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Unlimited time? Unlimited money? The mind does boggle...

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