London destination questions

Jul 8th, 2004, 08:40 PM
Original Poster
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London destination questions


1. Due to our tight schedule (it's shame), we probably have to choose only one from windsor castle and Hampton Court Palace. Now we prefer windsor castle. Which one is REALLY better for PM visiting?

2. I know this one sounds silly also. If you only can visit one place, St Pauls or Westminster Abbey?

3. Anyone knows the changing guards date (Buckingham Palace) in July? We will stay London from 07/18 to 07/21.

Thanks a lot!!

jz166 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2004, 08:55 PM
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1) By "PM" do you mean evening or afternoon? Both places are great but HCP is open an hour later (until 6 p.m) so an afternoon's visit would give you a little more time to explore.

2) St Pauls is currently covered by scaffolding (inside and out) so Westminster Abbey would be a more satisfying visit.

3) The changing of the guard might not be the best use of your VERY limited time. If you had a week - fine, But with so little time there I would hate to spend 2 hours at the guard change. You could view the Horse Guards change tho'.
janis is offline  
Jul 8th, 2004, 09:10 PM
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Janis is right on, as usual. The changing of the guard would be the first thing to drop. Far better ways to spend you time in London!
And the St. Paul's/Westminster Abbey dilemma is solved by the restoration work.
I personally like Windsor Castle more than HC, but I have a real soft spot for the town so that colours my preference. There's certainly lots of interest at both.
You'll just have to go back to London when you have more time!
taggie is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 05:05 AM
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I solved my Hampton Court/Windsor dilemma by squishing them into one day; 8:30 Sunday a.m. service in St. George's Chapel, followed by walk around Windsor, Castle and Eton, then train to Hampton C.
and river trip back to Westminster.

I would suggest Windsor, though, if I had to choose. I liked it because it is a functioning palace where you see guards and "bobbies" in traditional dress. The sense of history also seemed more intense there. I couldn't figure out if the frequent air flights overhead were a result of Windsor being so close to Heathrow or if some of the planes were fighter jets on patrol (obviously I am not a plane expert!)

Hampton Palace is more touristy...people picnicing on the grounds, the remnants of a function the night before (tent still set up, commercial trucks, etc). I remember thinking that Hampton Court Palace was like the poor cousin and had to earn its keep!

smroan is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 05:49 AM
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The planes over Windsor aren't, of course, fighters on patrol: even were the monarch in residence, it's unlikely she'd be high up anyone's terror list, as there are lots of politicians most of the bad guys would like to hit first. Even the IRA now accept that murdering her uncle 25 years ago (when he was roughly her age now) was a PR mistake.

The planes are there because Windsor Castle is under the main approach to Heathrow from the west.

The story of the American tourist (who, seeing it from her plane the one day in the year it wasn't cloud-covered, wondered why we built a castle under the flightpath) is probably apocryphal.

The story of the monarch (who asked the PM of the time to move the flight path because it ruined One's garden parties, and was politely informed that when Her views on aeronautical policy were considered worth soliciting, She would be the first to know) apparently isn't.
flanneruk is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 06:34 AM
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Thanks to all of you guys!

I think I decide to do Westminster and Windsor.

And I DO wanna be Buckingham Palace around 11AM to check out the changing guards. So, do you guys know the date in July (it's on alternative day of July)

btw, the story of plane over windsor is funny.
jz166 is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 08:14 AM
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But it was much more fun thinking they were fighters!

Windsor is a good choice. Leave time to walk around the town after you tour the castle.

Aside from the Macdonald's (also Starbucks, but them I forgive because I love them) across the street from the castle, there is some very pleasant walking, especially down the hill, across the bridge and over to Eton.
smroan is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 11:22 AM
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When you asked about PM visiting, I thought you were talking about me--PM!! haha!!

1. Windsor is a good choice, although it is a tough call because I liked Hampton's Court also.

2. I think Westminster Abbey is more interesting, especially due to scaffolding at St. Pauls.

3. I was going to say skip it because I thought it was boring and it's hard to see anything. But you seem really excited about doing this, so get there early to get a good spot. Sorry I don't know the dates.
P_M is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 11:41 AM
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"The planes are there because Windsor Castle is under the main approach to Heathrow from the west."

Same thing with Kew Gardens. We sat at a table at their outdoor cafe and watched the planes fly overhead - one every three minutes, all day long.

I would pick Westminster Abbey over St. Paul's regardless of the scaffolding. Westminster just has so much history. Take one of the verger tours or an audio tour - you'll get so much more out of it.

From beginning to end (getting there early to get a good standing spot, etc...) the changing of the guards will take up half of your touring day. You won't be leaving the area until noon.
Kayb95 is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 12:36 PM
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Not to muck up the St.Paul's/Westminster Abbey question but one advantage for St. Paul's is the hike to the tower, though strenuous, offers a spectacular, unfettered 360 degree view of London. Great photo op!

JoeG is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 01:10 PM
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Agree with Paul that the view from the top of St. Paul's is worth it...and the lines are a lot easier to take than at Westminster Abbey. If you go there, go EARLY.
Lennyb is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 09:26 PM
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When we were in London this year, we checked the Buck Palace web site. They listed the dates for the changing of the guard. In the summer it should be every day, in the winter it was every other day.
Do not have still have the web address. Should be easy to find.

JackieSun is offline  
Jul 10th, 2004, 04:26 AM
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Confusing info for July on their website

"Changing of the Guard

The Guard Change takes place at 11:30 daily from April until the end of June and on alternate days for the rest of the year, weather permitting.

Provisional Schedule for 2004 (Subject to change)

April everyday
May everyday
June everyday
July everyday
August odd numbered dates (1, 3, 5, 7 etc.)
September even numbered dates (2, 4, 6, 8 etc.)
October even numbered dates (2, 4, 6, 8 etc.)
November odd numbered dates (1, 3, 5, 7 etc.)

The new guards arrive at the forecourt of the Palace at 11:30 from Wellington Barracks. The journey takes about 5 minutes and the soldiers are accompanied by a band. The ceremony is conducted on the Palace forecourt and takes approximately forty minutes to complete."

mclaurie is offline  
Jul 12th, 2004, 08:33 AM
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Just want to point out that if you do choose Westminster Abbey you can deal with the long lines problem by making a reservation in advance for the verger tour. I just got back from London and had learned from fodorites that I could do this. We arrived about 30 minutes early but long lines would still not have had us inside Westminster by the time of our tour, however, when we told the man at the door we had a reservation, he moved us up to the front of the line. (Also, had we not had a reservation, it is unlikely we would have been able to do a verger tour since those fill up very quickly.)
Louiseee is offline  
Jul 13th, 2004, 05:53 AM
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As far as the changing of the guard goes, please do a search on this forum on the subject "Changing of the Guards -Insider Info!". There's a great scenario provided there that really worked for us. We only had 3 days and didn't waste any time. We have great shots of the guards leaving Wellington Barracks. You can watch them line up and do inspection there very close up. There's a spot outside the gate where they march out across the street next to a tree that is a great picture vantage point. We saw the changing first at Horseguards on a Sun morning and then walked up to Wellington Barracks to catch the preparation for the Buckingham Palace Ceremony. Do check out that post I mention. It was very worthwhile. susan
samejia is offline  

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