Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > London experts--Look at my week's itinerary, please?
Notices

London experts--Look at my week's itinerary, please?

Reply

Mar 6th, 2015, 12:35 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,739
London experts--Look at my week's itinerary, please?

What say you experts about the itinerary below, for a week in London in early June, for DD (in mid-20's) and me (60)?

A bit of background so you will perhaps understand some choices: This is my 6th trip and DD’s 2nd to London, so we have seen most of the “have-to’s,” some more than once. We both teach 7th-12th grade (each of us various grades) literature and history at a small private school. We are going to London for a week the first of June; at the end of that week, we will join up a group from our school—another faculty member, 3 parents, and 12 high school/college students--for a 9 day visit with a student-tour-group, with 2 days in London. With the students, we will, with our free time, take them to the British Museum and the Tower. DD and I love literature and history, taking photographs, exploring neighborhoods, walking, and packing a day full. We enjoy museums and don’t need to shop. We are far from foodies, although she is a vegetarian by choice and gluten-avoiding by medical necessity; we are going to be happy grabbing food from markets and grocers and do NOT plan to do many/any sit-down-and-order meals. I won’t list all the places we have already seen in London, but we have covered a lot of territory already—but not nearly enough! So we are soooo excited to be headed back.

Also, I won’t go into details, but we got rooms in a B&B on Norfolk Square near Paddington Station,which looks very convenient for what we are planning (and pretty cheap, too)

So (finally!) here’s our possible itinerary. I know there are always the unforeseen glitches, and we certainly may not get to everything some days. But am I missing something obvious about travel or do you see some things I should include or exclude?

Monday, June 1
• Arrive
but as of right now not sure what time as I don’t get airline specifics until late April (since it’s the student-tour-group handling our tickets). It will probably be by early afternoon, flying into LHR.
Take Heathrow Connect to Paddington; 5 minute walk to hotel; check-in or leave bags (In the past I’ve used the Tube and justairports for getting from LHR to hotel; this looks like a good alternative this time—NOT the Heathrow Express)
• Buy from the Rail station 7-day paper travel cards, as we are going to 4-6 places that honor 2for1 vouchers
Explore the neighborhood and area; need to find local stuff like ATM’s, grocers, maybe a laundry, etc. Just get oriented and stay on feet outside.
• Probably head to Berwick Market area—several veggie possibilities for her and never been there. Find Gielgud Theatre (for Tuesday night). Maybe go to Mildred’s on Lexington for meal? We liked it before; depends on time/hunger/etc.
IF time, take Tube Leicester Square to Waterloo and enjoy the Jubilee Gardens area for a while. She MIGHT want to do the Eye. Totally a maybe at this point. Might be only time but it’s not a priority. I’ve been once; she has not.
• Depending on time, across river to Embankment or just Tube to hotel.

Tuesday, June 2
• Westminster Bridge area
for –well, I’m not IN London til I’ve stood there! Pics and such.
Churchill War Rooms—This is a priority. Never been. (Both of us HAVE been to Imperial War Museum).
• Up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square area for—well, again, gotta go!
• Into National Gallery for leisurely look. I’ve been twice but always felt rushed or that I was “dragging” someone, so…
• MAYBE National Portrait Gallery.
• Definitely going into St. Martin-in-the-Field as never have—likely have a meal there in Crypt.
We have tickets for 7:30 “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” at the Gielgud.

Wednesday, June 3
• Chelsea Physic Garden
(via arrival at Sloan Square Tube and little walk around that area—heard there’s a good chocolate shop to check out --William Curley Chocolates)
• Probably eat lunch in the Garden
• Explore Cheyne Walk area; probably go onto Albert Bridge; look across at Battersea Park—just bit of by-the-Thames walk
• Walk up to Albertopolis area and see as much as have stamina for
• I definitely want DD to see the V&A—she wants to see the bomb damage outside and I want her to see a bit of the inside (I’ve been once) Probably short visit.
• I’d like to look into the National History Museum to see the lovely space but don’t plan to spend any time touring.
• Out onto Knightsbridge near Albert Memorial; then
• Tube to Earl’s Court—DD is an avid Dr. Who fan so we will look for blue police box there!
• Not too late a night, as we have early trip planned.

Thursday, June 4—first of 3 day trips

(Ok, yes, we could have filled a whole week or more in London; or yes, we could have traveled from London to see some stuff we’d love to see; in the end we compromised with basing ourselves in London and taking a few day trips. I priced out, meticulously I think, train tickets; I was always leaning toward some sort of RailPass, which I’d used in England and Germany and LOVED. When I priced out the 3 trips we ended up picking, the Pass was actually less than 3 tickets even purchased early. The consecutive day pass is cheaper, so we will do our day trips 3 in a row)

• Train to Cardiff for Dr. Who Experience for DD and Castle for me (and her)
• Leave pretty early, 2 hour trip, see at least the 2 things above, train back 6 to 7ish
• (We’d both like to spend a week or more in Wales, as we loved our couple days there in 2010, but we need a car (and driver!) for that)

Friday, June 5
• Train to Windsor Castle
(neither of us has been yet) in morning
• London in afternoon
British Library if we haven’t gotten to it yet—We have been before but want an hour there
Dickens Museum
• That may be all we get to—would like to see new Kings Cross station/area and maybe Camley Street Natural Park but we may not have time
• Dinner grabbed sometime/ might go back to hotel or might not
We have tickets for 7:30 “Warhorse” at New London Theatre

Saturday, June 6
• Jane Austin’s house in Chawton

• Train to Alton, then a walk
• DD wants a ramble in the countryside, so we are headed here and she will do some walking (with or without me to be determined) for a while around this village/area

Sunday, June 7
• Train to Bletchley (from Euston train station) and go to Bletchley Park Museum
for the morning
• Afternoon in London
• I really want to see the Roman Amphitheatre at Guildhall so this may be when we have time (short tube ride from Euston train station)
• IF time, there are some other areas around there, around St. Paul’s, to see—I’d like to see ruins at Christchurch Greyfriars and show DD Postman Park.
We have tickets for 6:30 “Merchant of Venice” at the Globe

Monday, June 8---The group arrives sometime today; we will have to check out and go to the hotel where we will be staying. If they don’t come til early afternoon, then we have a bit of time to do something short and easy. Or we may need to laze around!

Thanks for feedback—I have tried to be detailed, but the only things set in stone right now are the dates, our hotel, and the 3 theatre nights.
texasbookworm is online now  
Reply With Quote
Mar 6th, 2015, 01:07 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,979
Hi TEXASBOOKWORM,

I believe we have chatted in the past. Wow, you have already done a great deal of work for this trip. Sounds chuck full with interesting venues.

"DD and I love literature and history, taking photographs, exploring neighborhoods, walking, and packing a day full. We enjoy museums and don’t need to shop." That is me to a "T" except for the photography piece.

Last summer I did ten days solo in June (had fabulous weather!) and enjoyed every minute. Like you I had been there before but still could have used more time.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-business-.cfm

New discoveries for me on that trip - boat ride on Regent's Channel from Maida Vail to Camden town, visit to the SUPREME COURT building in Parliament Square, tour of MANSION HOUSE (available most Tuesdays at 2 PM), the SILVER VAULTS, and tour of BRITISH LIBRARY - highly recommend this tour.

Glad that you are making it to the CHURCHILL WAR ROOMS and newly refurbished DICKENS MUSEUM. You might also consider the BENJAMIN FRANKLIN HOUSE near Trafalgar Square.

Hope you do a trip report. Have a great time.
latedaytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 6th, 2015, 01:16 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,396
I am by no means a London expert, but this trip sounds wonderful!

While you're in Cardiff, stop at St. Mary's Church so your DD can find the Cyberman in the knights' chapel. It's very close to Cardiff Castle. If you have time, walk through the pedestrian shopping area. The indoor market is fun, and there are some great little shops down the various arcades - I'm not a shopper, but I liked them.

Here's a link to my Wales pictures; the Cardiff shots are toward the end of the set.
https://plus.google.com/photos/10725...LWcwM_VsoC8tgE

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 6th, 2015, 01:44 PM
  #4
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,739
I love it when old "friends"--folks I've shared with here--keep in touch!

Thanks for all the suggestions--Lateday--will put some of those on our "if time" list and Elendil--wahoo--thanks for the specific Dr. Who stuff--she'll love it.
texasbookworm is online now  
Reply With Quote
Mar 6th, 2015, 04:18 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 59,855
>>June 4—first of 3 day trips<<

As I count it is four day trips in sequence . . . That is a lot of travel - but you already know that.

William Curley is at the bottom of Ebury Street not far from Sloan Sq station.

>>Find Gielgud Theatre (for Tuesday night).<<

No need to 'find' it nor go there the day before. It is on Shaftsbury 2 blocks up from Piccadilly Circus.
janisj is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 6th, 2015, 05:04 PM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,739
Thanks Janis--yep, you can count right. Ha!

What I meant was we are going to use BritRailSouthwest Pass, 3 Consecutive day version--If I did my counting pounds right, the Pass is actually cheaper than price for tickets to Cardiff and the other 2 destinations, even bought early (no discount as far as I could tell for early purchase to Windsor or Alton). So....BUT that pass isn't good to Bletchley, so we will purchase tickets for that trip when in London. So yeah, it is 4 days of day trips, but 2 of them are only morning/half-day ones, so....And we are sorta working around the theatre commitments. (which we also know we could have waited to do on-site, but as we really wanted to see these things, we didn't want to risk not getting tickets)

Thanks for tips--I did figure the theatre wouldn't be too hidden, but I meant if we are going to be near we will make a point to walk by. We both do much better with directions with some hands-on (okay, feet-on) experience.

Any other pointers also appreciated!

I think you, Jansisj, are headed back next month?
texasbookworm is online now  
Reply With Quote
Mar 6th, 2015, 05:07 PM
  #7
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,739
Thanks Janis--yep, you can count right. Ha!

What I meant was we are going to use BritRailSouthwest Pass, 3 Consecutive day version--If I did my counting pounds right, the Pass is actually cheaper than price for tickets to Cardiff and the other 2 destinations, even bought early (no discount as far as I could tell for early purchase to Windsor or Alton). So....BUT that pass isn't good to Bletchley, so we will purchase tickets for that trip when in London. So yeah, it is 4 days of day trips, but 2 of them are only morning/half-day ones, so....And we are sorta working around the theatre commitments. (which we also know we could have waited to do on-site, but as we really wanted to see these things, we didn't want to risk not getting tickets)

Thanks for tips--I did figure the theatre wouldn't be too hidden, but I meant if we are going to be near we will make a point to walk by. We both do much better with directions with some hands-on (okay, feet-on) experience.

Any other pointers also appreciated!

I think you, Jansisj, are headed back next month?
texasbookworm is online now  
Reply With Quote
Mar 6th, 2015, 05:08 PM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,739
OK, woops, sorry for double post; don't know what did that.
texasbookworm is online now  
Reply With Quote
Mar 6th, 2015, 05:25 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 261
Looks like such fun! You will be busy, but like I tell my hubby, you can sleep when you get home! You will enjoy the Churchill War Rooms. I think the WWII stuff is really interesting.

There is a Cabman’s Shelter in the street between the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Rembrandt Hotel. It’s something different to do and a very cute place to have a cuppa.

I really enjoyed the Jane Austen Museum in Chawton. As literature lovers, you will appreciate seeing the Austen family’s belongings, including Jane’s desk. The garden is lovely. Across the street is a tea shop called Cassandra’s Cup. Be sure to take a peek inside. www.kleidertruhe.at/janeausten_chawton_en.php

I would suggest buying your tickets for Windsor Castle prior to your trip. We were there on a Tuesday in mid-September. I thought it would be slow, but I was glad that I had the tickets in hand. Were able to go straight through to security.

If you haven’t done so already, take a look at www.google.com/maps. You can go right to street level and take a virtual “walk” through.
lovs2travel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 6th, 2015, 05:38 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 59,855
Not you -- the site went down for a few minutes and your post probably got 'caught' in the snafu.

IME both your 'morning' day trips will take longer than you might think. I'd count on getting back from Windsor maybe by 2:30 or 3 PM at the earliest. And if you do Bletchley Park and the Museum of Computing plus other exhibits collections, count on getting back to town late afternoon.

Yes -- I'll be in London 5 days and Belgium/Amsterdam for 6 or 7 days at the end of April.
janisj is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 6th, 2015, 07:30 PM
  #11
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,739
Again, thanks for tips; I might look into getting those Windsor tickets ahead.

J--I wondered if I was really allowing enough time, even if we truncate things and also leave asap in the mornings. But we shall see. Of Brit Lib, Dickens, and the amphitheatre, the most important is a return visit to the BL, so I am sure we can squeeze at least that in there. If we arrive early enough on day one, we might even go there first, even though we know it's best to be outside as much as can on arrival day. We'll just have to stay somewhat flexible, I know. I just remembered I have to go by the Tower at some point and get my group some tickets to save a bit of money and save some time for the visit the 18 of us will take after my group arrives, so will have to factor that in, too. But I'm not going to complain about the problems of how to fit stuff into a visit to London--I'm so grateful to be going for this extra week that whatever we see will be a blessing!

Any other advice or comments still welcome.
texasbookworm is online now  
Reply With Quote
Mar 6th, 2015, 07:57 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 4,937
On my last trip to London ( August 2014 ) I visited the Dickens Museum for the first time. I enjoyed it very much. They have a very nice cafe serving an excellent walnut cake.

Also love the Portrait Gallery. It took several trips to London before I finally decided to visit. The National Gallery always seemed to take up most of my time. Now I try to get back at least for a quick look on every visit.
historytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 7th, 2015, 05:06 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,131
Hi, texasbookworm!

Looks like another great trip. On your Wednesday, in the Garden, do try to join one of the tours. The docent I had was wonderful and provided so much history. And the Thomas Carlyle house may be of interest. The house there is extraordinary and seems frozen in time. And the docents there were knowledgeable and lovely to talk to. (Be sure to go downstairs to kitchen/all-maid's bedroom.) This is a National Trust property, so if you are a Royal Oak member, admission is free.
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/carlyles-house/

Have a great trip.
ChgoGal is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 7th, 2015, 05:55 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,979
Hi again TEXASBOOKWORM,

Just checked - tours of the BRITISH LIBRARY take place Monday-Saturday at 10:30 and 3 PM. Sundays at 11:30 and 3PM.

Of course, you can visit the "treasures room" during the whole day, but I found this tour particularly interesting. The place is huge. Our guide had worked there for decades and was so engaging.

Just a thought - so much to see and do...
latedaytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 7th, 2015, 06:25 AM
  #15
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,739
Thanks LDT--do you remember about how long the tour took? I've spent an hour in the Treasures Room on 3 different trips but never seen much else except for just admiring that amazing tower of books at the core and eating in the café.
texasbookworm is online now  
Reply With Quote
Mar 7th, 2015, 11:04 AM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,739
(In answer to my own question above, I looked--the British Library tours are 75 minutes--might be nice, if time, but I won't pre-book)

While I'm using this space as a sounding board, I think I have a better plan for Friday.

As we would have gotten back perhaps sorta late from Cardiff on Thursday night, on Friday morning we'd not rush for a real early start. We'd try to be at the British Library by 9:30 (unless we got to it already) for hour-90 minutes, walk 15 minutes to Dickens Museum, and spend hour-90 minutes, having quick lunch in there somewhere. THEN by 1:30/2:00 or so, we'd take train to Windsor--pre-bought tickets in hand to avoid lines--and have over 2 hours inside (which probably won't be "enough" but it will be a look, if that's all we manage) and then spend some time outside for a while. Dinner and walk by river for some time then train back maybe 7ish. If we have managed to go to the British Library earlier in our visit, we still might not go to Windsor til the afternoon. I like to get to major sites at opening, as I know crowds increase as day goes along, but this might work better. Anyway, flip-flopping my Friday's plan is an option.

(and I haven't factored in weather at all, as we will just have to brave whatever the elements hold)
texasbookworm is online now  
Reply With Quote
Mar 7th, 2015, 11:15 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 59,855
Me personally - I'd still do Windsor first thing.

Getting to Windsor w/ tickets in hand does reduce the entry queue. But the security lines will be long. Getting inside early means you can visit the Dolls House and State Rooms w/o massive queues. The lines can get very long inside the castle precinct . . . not just the ticket line.
janisj is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 7th, 2015, 11:29 AM
  #18
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,739
Good point--plus overlooked our need to be at theatre by no later than 7 that night. So unless we do some swapping of days, I'll leave it as it is for now, knowing some flex is needed.

Thanks again for the patient input, all! And of course a Trip Report will be posted asap upon return, so late June.
texasbookworm is online now  
Reply With Quote
Mar 7th, 2015, 06:42 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,979
Hi again TEXASBOOKWORM,

Re tour at the BRITISH LIBRARY. May I quote from my July 2014 London TR?

"Another bright morning and I was on my way to the BRITISH LIBRARY - Charing Cross Tube directly to Euston Station. I had attended an evening lecture there the year before, but did not have a chance to visit the collection.

I would strongly recommend taking a tour, offered at 10:30 and 3 o'clock (all right 15:00) for £8. Our guide John had extensive knowledge of the library, having worked previously at the BRITISH MUSEUM whose library holdings (with great difficulty) were transferred to this new facility in 1997. We learned so much from this hour, but I will summarize the high points.

* Selection of the site, building design, and construction were fraught with controversy. The architect Colin St John Wilson (1922-2007) referred to it as a "thirty year war."

* Style was red brick "British Brutalism" - some see the design of a battle ship from various outside angles - the "porthole" windows inside and out reinforcing the nautical theme.

* The British Library is the recipient of LEGAL DEPOSIT which means the library receives a copy of "everything" published in Britain - the good with the bad.

* The Library holds over 150 million items in innumerable languages including Arabic and a variety of Asian tongues.

* The collection comes from various sources, the central one being that of King George III (he of the "late unpleasantness" in the colonies) who bequeathed some 65,000 volumes, now enclosed in a beautiful six tiered smoked glass case in the center of the library.

Who can use the library? A READER PASS is given to any reliable person who presents proof of address and has the good reason to use its resources.

* The British Library is still evolving with more lectures, exhibits and public events. They also offer courses on subjects such as 'entrepreneurship." We passed by a well subscribed classroom during the tour."

After the tour, I enjoyed the "treasures room" and a small exhibit of WWI.
latedaytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 8th, 2015, 05:17 AM
  #20
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,739
Late--Yes, you may! Thanks. Sounds like something we will keep in mind.
texasbookworm is online now  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:23 AM.