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london day and a half, where to stay, what to see

london day and a half, where to stay, what to see

Nov 13th, 2005, 07:41 PM
  #1  
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london day and a half, where to stay, what to see

we're going back to zambia in march and this time direct lusaka to lhr. it's been 30 years since i've been to london and would appreciate any advice on where to stay and what to see. all i can remember is the tower of london is a must. thanks for your help!
Dennis
matnikstym is offline  
Nov 13th, 2005, 08:03 PM
  #2  
 
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Well, that is a formidable question to answer. I am sure you will get dozens of opinions.

I think it depends on what you like, as always.

My top 4 list includes these:
St. Paul's Cathedral
Westminister Abbey
the British Museum
Kew Gardens

If you like art, there are several galleries that might outrank the 4 places I have listed.

Others might say I should include the Houses of Parliament, The Victoria and Albert Museum, and other places as well.

I would also suggest that for the evening you take in a play or a musical production. The London theater scene and the music scene that time of year is deep and varied.

I will pass on the where to stay question. I used the Kensington Close last summer and was happy not to return.
Small rooms are common in many London Hotels and the word Close means what it says.

I also stayed at the Hotel Troy. It is a small, small hotel, but the room was satisfactory. We had a king bed, and a nice bathroom area.

There must be dozens of answers to that question, however. Do a search on London Hotel. I think something will pop up.
bob_brown is offline  
Nov 14th, 2005, 03:57 PM
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That is a difficult question. There are more "musts" in London than you have time for! Some clues about your interests would help. You really should do some walking around and not be in museums all the time. The places that we keep going back to are the National Gallery and the V and A. If you go to the Tower conventional wisdom is to go first thing in the morning to beat the crowds. One of Westminster Abbey and St.Pauls would be good. (They are both worthwile and very different but with a day and half...) The Musuem of London is quite good as well. All the sites that I have mentioned are free except the churches and the Tower of London.
Gavin is offline  
Nov 14th, 2005, 08:56 PM
  #4  
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since i posted this, i decided to stay an extra night so 2 full days sightseeing, then i see an overnight trip to paris, all this on top of a 12 night safari in zambia! what about getting the london card and just play it by ear?
matnikstym is offline  
Nov 15th, 2005, 06:51 AM
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It's always good to be flexible - you never know what you might feel like, or what the weather will do. With two days, you'll still have to be pretty ruthless about what you cut out from your list of possibles, and it would help to group things together so you have some options in whatever part of London you happen to be in at any given point.

If you go to the Tower, for example, you could take a boat-ride from there.

See www.tfl.gov.uk on Travelcards (for maximum flexibility over modes of travel), and also
http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/tourist_map.shtml
PatrickLondon is offline  
Nov 15th, 2005, 08:12 AM
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I agree on the play-it by-ear theory. That's a good amount of time to take a little taste of London, but once you set aside the 3-4 hours for the Tower, it leaves lttle time to go very far or plan to do very much, particularly since you're about to get back on a plane.

I'd stay someplace as close as possible to a tube stop, preferably on the Circle and/or District lines in S. Kensington area. The subway lines will get you to the Tower speedily.

From there, I'd cross over to the South Bank, which has changed a lot since you were there last. Visit the Tate Modern, if it's a Friday afternoon or Saturday eat at Borough Market.

The Globe Theater is there, but, personally, I'm not a fan (it's NOT the original, and at least when I went you could only go on a guided tour, led by some very, uh, Dramatic! theater students. And it's a loooong tour.)

The District and Circle lines will also take you to the King's Road area for shopping and eating (even on a Sunday) and the V&A, Hyde Park etc.

Also Westminster, where you can go south to the London Eye (I've never had to wait more than about 10 minutes), and north to Westminster Abbey, HOP, Cabinet War Rooms, Buck Palace, Green & St. James Parks, Piccadilly, Regent St. shops etc etc.

Unless there's a museum or show you're absolutely dying to see, I'd say leave that block of time for a longer trip.

Take time in little bites. Don't travel too far. Don't stand in long lines. Go places where you can just enjoy BEING in London. You'll enjoy it more than seeing The Sights.

Have a great trip!


Bluehour is offline  
Nov 15th, 2005, 08:14 AM
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Tagging on for reading later.
Dejais is offline  
Nov 15th, 2005, 09:17 AM
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If you are interested in seeing either St Pauls or Westminster Abbey and enjoy choral music it's a good idea to visit for one of the sung services. It will save you forking out for the entrance fee.
Frostyev is offline  
Nov 15th, 2005, 09:21 AM
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Go with your interests. London has something for everybody.

It is so huge as to be overwhelming to a guy like me from a small town and a farm.

But I have two good maps and can find my way.

One thing, Londoners usually will help you with bus connections. I have been surprised more than once by people who deviated from their route to get me on the right bus.

I know you are trying to maximize your time there. But I think if you pick objectives that interest you personally, you will not go wrong.

I like to ride the buses because I can see where I am going. Bus travel may take a little longer, but I find it more interesting.
bob_brown is offline  
Nov 15th, 2005, 11:23 AM
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matnik, you've had some good advice from Bluehour on how to choose a part of London to stay in. Next question is which hotel. For us, with similar requirements, the Millenium Baileys fit the bill perfectly -- it's right next to Gloucester Road tube, so on the Circle and District lines, and also on the Piccadilly line (which is a direct line to Heathrow). Saves a lot of hassle.

The Baileys is in a real neighborhood, so there are local stores and pubs. Plenty of buses, and you can also walk (or bus, or taxi) to Kensington (park and shopping) or along Brompton Road to the museums (V&A, Natural History). Some years we have found a good rate through londontown.com (not last year, however) -- I think it varies depending on the days of the week/time of year you want to stay.

If you do a search here on London hotels, you'll find a ton of information. Maybe more than you really want...
SB_Travlr is offline  
Nov 15th, 2005, 07:28 PM
  #11  
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thanks for all your help! yes, i'm overwhelmed at the options! i definitely will go back to tower of london, westminster abbey and TC wants to see kew gardens. other than tea with the queen saturday @ 11:00 (confirmed) the rest of the time will be spent enjoying London!
matnikstym is offline  
Nov 15th, 2005, 07:49 PM
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I wasn't a big fan of England (loved France), but I did like the Tower of London and the big ferris wheel thing (British Airways London Eye). We only were there for about 3 days and fit plenty in, maybe we didn't take enough time. I really disliked the food. British Museum has become a blur with all the other museums we visited on a 2 week visit of London and Paris. The architecture of the museum was definitely cool though. Changing of the Guard was an opportunity to experience the Bobbies in action, with crowd control. They were pretty grumpy for the most part. Definitely changed how I see the big round cops in the funny black hats. We were there the week before George W. Bush visited though and so maybe that's why everyone was so grumpy. not sure. Next trip to England I want to go to the countryside. I think that will be better.
likestoeat is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 06:29 AM
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In March it will be getting dark around 5pm, which argues for going to Kew fairly early on the morning of a full day - you could easily spend the best part of the day there, depending on your interests (and if the weather's bad, the Palm House is nice and warm).

For the Tower it's usually best to get there early if you can. You can save some time at the Tower by buying a ticket in advance from any tube station. You could combine Westminster Abbey with the Tower, and still have time on either day for some improvisation.

http://www.hrp.org.uk/webcode/tower_home.asp
http://www.kew.org
http://www.westminster-abbey.org/
PatrickLondon is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 07:41 AM
  #14  
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"I wasn't a big fan of England".....
" We only were there for about 3 days"

I'm saying nowt for fear of being banned ;-)

You have very little time, so you need to go for some biggies.
I'd go for The Tower and Westminster Abbey myself and try to take in a show in the evening.

On the half day, I'd go for a museum, Museum of London, V and A or British Museum.



 
Nov 16th, 2005, 08:14 AM
  #15  
 
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SB makes a good point -- the Piccadilly line from Heathrow is a wonderful thing. (Unless you have a lot of luggage, or mobility problems, of course.)
If you want to change over from the Piccadilly to the District line with a minimum of fuss on the way in, there are a few places where you can do that without going up and down any stairs.
I always use Hammersmith, where you just go to the other side of the same platform, but there are others.

Kew is a bit of a hike. But it's a pleasant place even in winter. There's a little cafeteria in the welcome center. I don't know if the tea pavilion is open in winter, but it's lovely in warm weather. Eating sandwiches among the peacocks ...
Or if you want something a little more substantial, the Maid of Honor tea shop, just down the road from the Kew entrance, is nice. Or there are a couple of nice places in town.

Since it's only one night, and location/transportation access is crucial, I wouldn't try to find the deal of the century. An extra $35 -- $50 that saves you a 10-minute walk several times, and means you have a hotel staff to help you out fast when you need it is well-spent, in my opinion. Check some nice hotels -- you might get a discount in March just by asking for it.

I don't know the Baileys hotel mentioned, but the Glocester Road tube stop is a good location. There's a big supermarket right around the corner for quick refreshment and shops nearby if you forget or find you have packed something you want for your flight.

And remember -- there's nothing wrong with just sitting in the park reading the paper, or having a long lunch in a pub or watching people go by. Don't run yourself ragged!

Enjoy!



Bluehour is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 09:10 AM
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In March the sun sets at 1800 God's time in England, just like everywhere else on the planet. It really gets dark a fair bit later.

In London, God's time and man's time are identical until we adjust our clocks on the last weekend of the month. It won't actually be dark in Kew till close on 1830.
flanneruk is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 06:38 PM
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We landed in London at 11 am, with a flight back to Canada the following day at 4:45.
Stayed at a B&B 5 minutes away from Hyde Park,,,would recommend it - it was clean, the <continental> breakfast was superb (and included fresh fruits, cereal, cheese, egg, rolls, etc). It was also 5 minutes away from numerous pubs and restos.
As for what to see, I would suggest the open tour bus pass - ours ws 20 pounds for 2 days and included a boat ride. We got on and off when we wanted to see something of interest to us and felt that we had at least seen the majority of the attractions. Which is a real plus when doing a <condensed> trip in such a huge place.
carven is offline  

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