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London & Paris Itinerary with some Questions

London & Paris Itinerary with some Questions

May 1st, 2019, 01:36 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,767
>>I would also suggest finding a train station with left luggage that's near where you plan to do things that day, instead of leaving your luggage a 15-min. walk from your hotel<<

The Tower of London as an example - the nearest station is Fenchurch Street -- which doesn't have Left Luggage The next closest is Cannon Street -- no Left Luggage there either. There are very few stations that have. (IMO fighting the Tower crowds after an overnight flight would be hard). I do think there is a commercial luggage storage company somewhere around Piccadilly Circus/Leicester Square but I'm not sure where it is.
janisj is online now  
May 2nd, 2019, 09:00 AM
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LOL> I meant to say that I have done much "more", not less
vicftl is offline  
May 2nd, 2019, 09:18 AM
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I had been to London for a short time before so I know the tube is fairly easy to get around, otherwise we will taxi.
Problem with going to Tower on arrival day is that we would not get there first thing to avoid lines.
Will figure out the best station to leave bags. Will not hear back about whether or not our flat owner will allow us to keep our bags there until a couple days before we get there.
Thank you for the suggestion about Stonehenge. Will try to do this on our own and hopefully stop at Windsor along the way for a bit.

[color=left=#323232]You've included some things that you want to do that are not usually on a first-timer's list, but are definitely worth seeing. For example, the Pantheon"[/color]

Curious what would you expect instead of this?
vicftl is offline  
May 2nd, 2019, 10:38 AM
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>>Thank you for the suggestion about Stonehenge. Will try to do this on our own and hopefully stop at Windsor along the way for a bit.<<

That is not doable on your own. Taking the train to Salisbury, there is no way you could also fit in Windsor the same day . . . There is no direct (or even semi direct) rail route from Salisbury to Windsor or vice versa. It takes 2 hours and requires 3 or 4 changes. The commercial tour operators manage by giving you very little time at each place.

Most tours include three destinations Windsor/Stonehenge/Oxford, or Windsor/Stonehenge/Bath - something like that and are expensive and rushed. There is a tour I've recently heard of that does only Stonehenge and Windsor but it costs about $100/80, takes 10+ hours and is only offered Wed/Fri/Sun so wouldn't work for you.
janisj is online now  
May 2nd, 2019, 10:46 AM
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Do Stonehenge on own and spend time in Salisbury too with one of England's finest cathedrals and a sweet regional town too. There are some nice walks south of town too that give you the classic view of the spires of Salisbury Cathedral looming over cow-ful meadows as painted by famous artists like Constable.

PalenQ is offline  
May 2nd, 2019, 05:42 PM
Join Date: Apr 2016
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First of all, I totally respect that you want to do your own trip. That said, JanisJ and PalenQ gave me invaluable advice prior to my trip to Paris and London a few years ago. So take their advice to heart.

We were in London for 8 days. We did a day trip on own to Stonehenge by train. We left extremely early (I believe we were on a train before 8 am). We took it to Salisbury where we immediately got on bus to Stonehenge. We spent about 2.5-3 hours there (you can obviously spend significantly more time). We took bus back to Salisbury, visited the Cathedral, had a quick lunch and hopped on a train to Bath. Along the way we got to see the Chalk figures in the hillside. We arrived in Bath, toured the Cathedral, had ice cream and watch some musicians outside and toured the Roman Baths. We wandered the City, ultimately grabbing dinner and heading back to London. We could have done more, but I was nursing a sprained ankle and couldn't possibly walk anymore. We made it back to London around 10 or 11:00 pm.

It was a very long busy fast paced day-- and one discouraged by many. But it was one of our best days of that trip, in a part because it was our adventure and not a tour. But I do remember reading about those tours that included Windsor.

We did do Oxford too, btw. A separate trip via train and another fantastic but long day. It's an entire (albeit walkable) city. Not just one place. I would not have added anything with that because there was so much to see and do. I had a teen Harry Potter fan who was in her glory; but it truly is a beautiful city no matter what your reason for visiting.

In London itself, there are so many sites to see without ever leaving. We did four day trips (Stonehenge, Oxford, Hampton Court Palace and Warner Brothers Studios) and four full days in London. That worked for us- but we were prepared to move and move fast. We walked a lot and saw more than I could have imagined because of that. But you must decide what is important to you. Make that list of important things. Rank them. Figure out the timing and transportation. And remove what just won't fit. And then be prepared to adjust as you go (adding or decreasing as necessary).

Happy planning!
here4now is offline  
May 3rd, 2019, 12:20 PM
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- Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Oxford in one day????? It's almost as if you're pulling our leg>

I think OP was talking about a bus trip that advertised all three - but what kind of experience would they have at each - very little. Stonehenge and Salisbury make perfect sense. Windsor and Oxford on separate days but you have so little time in London to begin with.
PalenQ is offline  
May 3rd, 2019, 01:17 PM
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Stonehenge is unique even though there not too much to do there but it's a long way from London and it takes a whole day. If you are going by public transportation there is a bus from Salisbury to Stonehenge. Pay attention the times the bus leaves Stonehenge. You don't want to miss the last bus when you are in the middle of nowhere. Spare some time to Salisbury itself as other suggested.
Zvi is offline  
May 3rd, 2019, 01:51 PM
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I don't think a Sunday evening is a good time to visit Covent Garden. The last time I walked through the area on a Sunday, very late afternoon, most shops were closing and street performers had dispersed. If I'm wrong, I do hope someone let's us know.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
May 4th, 2019, 05:03 AM
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You asked what I expected to see from a first-timers list; I don't know that I expect anything. I like to see when visitors have picked out things that they want to see, which it looks like you have done, for example, it looks like you like gardens. But things that I (with my own biased perspective) wanted to see on my first several visits to London included the National Gallery, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's. My son's picks for his first visit included a walking tour about Spies that LondonWalks did at the time, don't think they still have that walk, though they're an excellent company. In Paris, Musee d'Orsay was a must for us, our whole family loves art, Montmartre (if you really like the Impressionists and you have the time). Also, I love local cuisine, so we ate outside at a place that served Fish and Chips, we visited pubs, we had a variation of afternoon tea at Richoux, an English breakfast at Valerie's, sampled many different pattisseries' macarons, and had crepes from stands on the street. As well as eating at more formal restaurants. I really don't like visiting Versailles, because it tends to be crowded; we visited a couple of years ago because my daughter wanted to see where the Treaty of Versailles was signed, and the place was full of tour groups - we could barely breathe. If you do go, however, I would suggest picking up a French picnic lunch of bread, cheese and wine and eat somewhere in the gardens. Enjoy!
Lexma90 is offline  
May 4th, 2019, 07:32 AM
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Stonehenge is a waste of time. Yawn. Boring. Oxford in 3 hours? Why bother?

What about eating? I couldn't imagine going to London or Paris and not booking a table at St John, the Wolseley, Les Climats, or even sitting at a place like Cafe Nemours for an hour of people watching.

Bakeries? Chocolate shops? Grocery stores? Cheese shops?

You are missing out on life in these cities by just checking off tourist sites.

Hot mess, indeed, Miss Thing.

Pepper_von_snoot is online now  
May 4th, 2019, 08:07 AM
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Take a look at London Walks. We did do a Salisbury/Stonehenge tour that was very good. It is an all day trip. London Walks "London's best guided walks" Time Out - London Walks
Paqngo is online now  
May 4th, 2019, 01:13 PM
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Factor into your plans that August is a VERY busy and crowded month for tourism. Long lines are likely wherever you go.
Underhill is online now  
May 4th, 2019, 02:02 PM
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Yes leave some time for serendipity - and doing relaxing things like walking London's South Bank between the Eye and the Tate Modern, going over the weird Millennium Bridge that is meant to move a bit as you walk over it (originally it was designed to rock a lot when folks went over it but opening day caused many to believe the bridge was going down and a panic so the bridge movements are more trivial) but going over this pedestrian bridge is still fun - nice photo opps from the center of the bridge.
PalenQ is offline  
May 4th, 2019, 04:09 PM
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>>going over the weird Millennium Bridge<<

What are you on about now? There is nothing at all weird about the bridge.

>>originally it was designed to rock a lot when folks went over it but opening day caused many to believe the bridge was going down and a panic so the bridge movements are more trivial<<

That is factually incorrect - The movement was unexpected/unplanned/unanticipated by the design engineers. It was caused by the thousands of pedestrians sort of syncopating their footsteps.
janisj is online now  
May 4th, 2019, 05:40 PM
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Thin on the Millennium Bridge, September 2018. Seemed like any other pedestrian bridge to me. Don't remember it moving even though it was a very windy day. Thin☎️
Pepper_von_snoot is online now  
May 5th, 2019, 02:28 AM
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Vicftl, one other suggestion I have is to google "tourist sites in London/Paris" or get a good guide book. Look for a map that plots them all out. Then, using google or Rome2Rio (my favorite), find out the distance between each. Rome2Rio gives you the time it will take you walking, driving or by public transport. I then sit down with pen and paper and plan the day geographically using easy transport or walking. Its not perfect- things will take longer or you will get distracted by something. But it helps give you a sense of what is possible.

Any desire for an afternoon tea? There is a hotel near New Hyde Park that serves a "fashion tea" which was really cool- all the pastries were designed after a famous fashion designer. We did that before New Hyde Park. We then walked through New Hyde Park in search of Diana's fountain and the Peter Pan Statue. We ended up walking for a couple of hours through the beautiful park. Beautiful, but a long walk that day. But we saw a lot we never expected to see, including a great amount of people watching!

We went to St. Paul's cathedral the same day we did Tower of London. From near there, you can see and go on the London Bridge if you want (we just took pics). We went to the Tower early, got on first Beefeater tour. We then walked through the Borough Market and then on to St. Paul's where we had lunch nearby. Going to the top of the dome in St. Pauls was very cool. We ended that day at the Winston Churchill War Rooms (any fans of history would love that, btw). At some points we took the tube, others we walked. Instead of the war rooms, you could end that afternoon with the Westminster Abby (if it is open), Big Ben/Parliament walk by and/or the London Eye. Our hotel was near Trafalgar Square so we easily saw that multiple times a day and it was easy walking to many sites from there-including having dinner in Covent Garden, seeing a show, etc. I am not sure if changing your hotel is an option- but that location may work better for you because so many things were so close.

Paris is much more compact and you can see more in less time than London. We walked everywhere in Paris except to Versailles.
here4now is offline  
May 5th, 2019, 03:51 AM
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"Paris is much more compact and you can see more in less time than London ". I agree that the centre of Paris is much smaller than the centre of London, but there is just far more interesting stuff to see in London but probably at the same density as Paris. I've had occasion to have to wait around in parts of central London with no-particular place to go and around every corner there is another gem.

I actualy prefer smaller cities like Salisbury, Rouen, Lille, Oxford just because the centre is an easy 15 minute walk across and make better one day visits.

"London Bridge" is the dull one

Millenium Bridge was designed by artist Sir Anthony Caro who wanted it to look like a sword of light pointing at St Paul's. Which is does from the restaurant deck of the Tate. This is probably the first "virtual" horizontal suspension bridge and as such experimental. On the first day 90,000 people tried it out. The syncopation of pedestrians induced a sway to the bridge (not the wind as that had been designed out) and finally it had to be closed until dampers could be fitted. Hence the local name "the wobbly bridge" because people walked off it wobbling. Naturally when Thin walked across it, after it had been fixed, she felt nothing.
bilboburgler is offline  
May 5th, 2019, 06:03 AM
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Thin is a bloke, guv. 🕴

I can't believe I have been posting here for 20 years and you don't know I am a dude.

Pepper_von_snoot is online now  
May 5th, 2019, 06:51 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Thin, really sorry, I have to drag my mind from a svelt well dressed blond lass to a guy in a well pressed suit and great shoes. Done it.

I'm pretty sure I have the gender assignment of janisj, annhig and StCirq on the button before I stumble into more errors.
bilboburgler is offline  

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