itinerary for London?

Sep 26th, 2001, 10:09 PM
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itinerary for London?

Please suggest the highlights for a trip to London. My husband and I will only be there for 4 days. Include restaurants that you think were great. We need to take 5 college kids to dinner. Any suggestions where... that won't break the bank?
Sep 27th, 2001, 05:27 AM
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I will answer since noone else has, although I'm not especially qualified.

Just the biggest sights in London would easily fill up 2 days: Tower, Tower Bridge, Westminster, Buckingham, etc. The museums could easily fill up another two days. Plus the theatre or opera, plus shopping, plus ... So it really depends on what you want to do and see. There are also lots of half-day trips that are easy to do from London (Greenwich, Hampton Court, Windsor).

I assume you're going soon (i.e. dark and dreary weather)? Fortunately there's plenty to do in London even in bad weather. I'd suggest staying somewhat flexible - if you wake up one morning to sunny weather, don't waste it in a museum! If the weather is not so good, then here's my list of indoor highlights:
- British Museum: 1/2 day is not nearly enough time, but you could see a few highlights, like the Rosetta Stone.
- National Gallery: I keep going back just to see the Constable paintings; I also like the Canaletto's - lots of color to brighten a wintry day.
- Lots of other museums depending on your tastes. I haven't been yet but Soane's Collection gets high marks; the Museum of Science is great if you love steam engines or model ships.
- Attend a "sung" service or music recital at either Westminster or St Paul's. In the winter at least, it's usually possible to sit in the Quire at the services, which is a very cool experience.
- Harrod's: The food court is a good place to buy souveniers, especially around the Holidays (shortbread or chocolates).
- Kensington Palace: I enjoyed the tour, but it would be much more rewarding for a Princess Diana fan. (I'm afraid the dress collection left me totally unmoved, althogh the other dispays were interesting
- Theater or Opera: There's lots of advice on this website about purchasing theater tickets. Also, the English National Opera is convenient in that their performances are translated into English.

If the weather is nice, you'll probably want to spend more time sightseeing. One lesson I learned only on my second trip: some of the best views are from the south bank of the Thames, especially the views of Parliament and of the Tower. For a 1/2 day trip, either Hampton Court Palace or Windsor Castle (although I think HC is probably a better choice in marginal weather, since there's more to see indoors).

No restaurant recommendations, I'm afraid. I've eaten some wonderful Greek and Indian meals in London, but always by just wandering around until I see something I like.

Sep 27th, 2001, 05:46 AM
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If you go to the Natoinal Gallery, you'll be near the Natoinal Portrait Gallery, which is much more entertaining than it sounds becuase the portrats are arranged in chronological order and have great, historically-informative plaques. You'll also be near St. Martin's in the Fields church, which WAS in the fields when it was built, centuries ago. They have free lunchtime concerts at 1:05 PM, and in the basement a surprising ly good and very atmospheric cafeteria, the Cafe In The Crypt, and a brass-rubbing center.

You can take a cruise down the Thames (I recommend the Catamarean Cruisers) from Westminster to the Tower of London. Do take a Beefeater's tour, they are the one London thing that I just wouldn't miss!

I agree with Dave, the Sir John Soane's Museum is entertaining. He paved the way for eccentric Victorians, packing his very quirky townhouse with antiquities.

We were not particularly thrilled with anything about Kensington, though tea at the Orangerie was pleasant.
Sep 27th, 2001, 07:12 AM
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My college age children enjoyed Wagamamma on a recent trip in June. They are all over London and not that expensive plus very different than the usual restaurant. Be sure and try to work in a London Walk. We only did one (Beatles) and it was very enjoyable. They have many to choose from and it is very inexpensive. We also loved the play Mamma Mia. The guys enjoyed the Imperial War Museum and my daughter and I enjoyed Kensington Palace. It is very easy to get to Windsor and Hampton Court by train for 1/2 day - both enjoyable. The food court at Harrods was fun and everyone enjoyed the London Eye. I could go on and on because it is such a great city. We were there 10 days and still could not do everything on our list. Have a great time.
Sep 27th, 2001, 06:23 PM
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Joanie: If the kids are at all interested in WWII history, I heartily recommend The Cabinet War Rooms Museum. It is the underground site from which Winston Churchill managed the Allied forces. Fascinating! My senior in college son and my junior in high school son enjoyed our 1 1/2 hours there. I did too! Also, I recommend the Jack the Ripper Walking Tour...the one you don't pay for until the end of the tour. No specific recommendations on food. We hit lots of Pubs since the costs were always reasonable and the beer worth sampling. Have a great trip!

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