London for 3 days in May

Jan 4th, 2003, 04:43 PM
  #1  
Danni
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London for 3 days in May

We are going to start a UK trip with 3 days in London, then moving on to Bath then Wales for a week (family wedding in Wales!) This is our first trip to UK. With just 3 days to spend in London, what should we do/see? We arrive at LHR at 6:30am 5May, are booked into a B&B in Victoria Station area, and are leaving for Bath after renting a car at LHR 8May.
 
Jan 4th, 2003, 07:43 PM
  #2  
bettyk
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Danni, I hope you have already done some research on London. If so, then you should have a good idea of the "must see" sights. You can also do a search here on Fodor's for London and it will provide you will many ideas. Much also depends on your interests. Do you enjoy museums, shopping, theater?

We spent 3-1/2 days in London in May 2002 and managed to squeeze in quite a bit, including a train trip to Hampton Court. But we spent very little time in London's great museums nor did we attend any plays. I also wished I'd had time to visit Regent's Park and Windsor Castle.

Whatever you do, I know you will wish you had time to do more!
 
Jan 5th, 2003, 02:11 AM
  #3  
xxx
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I would skip Bath and spent more time in London. Looks as if you really only have two days in London with 5 May being consumed with arrival and jetlag.
There is so much to do and see in London, and many posters here have been less than impressed with Bath.
 
Jan 5th, 2003, 03:24 AM
  #4  
Danni
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With our 630am arrival in London we were hoping to get to Victoria station area by 9am, drop off our luggage since our room won't be available to us til noon. We usually sleep well on planes at with a short afternoon nap adapt well to time change (we are nurses who are used to shift work and changing sleep patterns!)questions:
day 1 - best way to get from Heathrow the Victoria with 1 piece of luggage each during rush hour traffic? bus? train? tube?
what to do for the morning? take a bus tour? after lunch, nap for a couple hours...then what to do from mid-morning on? CHEAP places to eat either near major sightseeing destinations or near Victoria Station?
day 2 - castles or gardens? historic places to see? thinking maybe Hampton court and/or Kew gardens...how to get there?
day 3 - more history/castles/gardens
day 4 - back to Heathrow, pick up rental car, see Windsor Castle then drive to Bath, maybe visiting Stonehenge enroute...We thought Bath made a good mid-way point enroute to south Wales.
This seems like such an information-packed website that I was hoping for some ehlp planning specific itinerary...How much can one realistically do? I'd love to see all the churches, cathedrals, museums, castles etc but realsitically that won't happen. Hoping maybe someone can tell me what can fit in for the limited time available!
Thanks for any help anyone might be able to give.
 
Jan 5th, 2003, 03:58 AM
  #5  
ann
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Two years ago I landed at Heathrow at 6:30 and was staying near Victoria Station and we didn't get there till 11:00! That's because we took the bus. I'm going again in March and will take the tube. I've not done this in London but my research, here and elsewhere, says that's it's the fastest way, and with only one piece of luggage you should do OK. I've done the equivalent in Paris and it was much much faster than a bus or taxi. The Heathrow Express is also fast but more expensive. Just don't do anything that involves being on the roads (bus or taxi) during rush hour.

The hop on hop off bus tour is good for the first day if you want to see a lot and have a fairly easy mode of transportation. The one I took came with a river cruise which we took at dusk and it was the highlight of my trip.

Can't give you many other specific suggestions for London as I was only there a couple of days (as I said, I'm going back this March) but on that trip two years ago I did go to Stonehenge and I'll make a suggestion I havn't heard elsewhere - go after it "closes". We were going to skip it due to all the stories about huge lines, etc but we were driving nearby and decided to drive by even though it was early evening (that was in July, check sunset times for May) and officially not open. The road goes right by it, there's a little pull off to park in and you can see it great. I was so amazed by it - you see pictures all your life but to see it in person is wonderful. The sun was just peaking through the clouds and cast an errie light on it. There were only about 10 other people there, like us just parked by the road and looking through the fence. You do have to look through a fence but even if you pay and wait on line you still can't get much closer. I think I enjoyed it much more than if I paid money, waited on line and seen it with hundreds of other people around.
 
Jan 5th, 2003, 06:24 AM
  #6  
xxx
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Danni, If you plan to take the Heathrow Express into London, please be aware that it goes to Paddington Station and not to Victoria Station.
 
Jan 5th, 2003, 07:39 AM
  #7  
Nigel Doran
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Take the Tube from Heathrow, especially if you have a suitcase with wheels. There are escalators but not lifts at Tube stations. It takes about 65 mins. from Heathrow to Victoria. Change at Green Park for the Victoria line and then walk from there (get your hotel to give you good directions.)
Take a bus tour on the first day. Don't miss Tower of London if you are remotely interested in history, but get a ticket from any Tube station for the Tower beforehand. Get there early.
Spend more time in London than Bath.
Going to H;row to get the car is a good idea.
 
Jan 5th, 2003, 10:52 AM
  #8  
janis
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Danni: I think you are being pretty optimistic about getting anywhere near Victoria by 9AM. You land at 6:30 - some transatlantic flights do land early but don't count on it. So assuming you touch down at 6:30. Add 15 mins of taxi time, 20 minutes to get off the plane and walk the fairly long distance to the arrivals lounge. 30 to 60 mins to get your luggage off the carousel, 15 to 60 minutes to clear immigration (a lot depends on what other flights are landing at the same time), a 10 minute walk to the tube station and a minimum 65 minute tube ride changing lines once. (The last three times I have landed at terminal 3 the moving sidewalks were not working making those walks even longer)

So assuming you make every connection, have no problems at LHR and the tube is running smoothly you really have to plan on 3 hours minimum.

The train to Paddington is problematic too because after the walk to the station and the fast ride to Paddington, you will be facing a very long taxi queue. Getting an AM taxi at Paddington is difficult during the morning commute. You could take the tube from Paddington but it will be crowded and is a fair hike.

A hotelLink type bus will be slow because of the commute traffic and the other stops before they drop you off. And a car service - while comfortable and convenient will still have to fight that morning commute.

So I would not coun't on doing much the first morning except getting to the hotel. It is possible your room will be ready allowing you to check in. About 50% of the times I arrive in the AM my rooms are available when I get there. So you could unpack and be out by lunch time.
 
Jan 5th, 2003, 11:57 AM
  #9  
Lynn
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I just got back from London. I was at my hotel one and one half hours from the time my plane landed (which was also on time). Took the Heathrow Express to Paddington and then walked to my hotel (about 7 min walk).

It does happen - as the previous posted pointed out, don't count on planes being on time, etc., but having arrived in London and Paris quite a few times, I haven't had big waits to get from the airport to my hotel.
 
Jan 5th, 2003, 12:22 PM
  #10  
carolyn
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The Parliament area is one place where you can see lots of landmarks--those beautiful buildings plus the Thames River, Big Ben, St. Margaret's, and Westminster Cathedral--just by walking around a bit. I really enjoyed the verger tour of Westminster. I had tried it once on my own and found it difficult to know what I was seeing.

A good and inexpensive place to eat near Victoria Station is the ASK pizza chain. It is much more than just pizza.

I would think you would want to at least go inside Harrods and walk past Buckingham and Kensington Palaces. Kensington Gardens are beautiful, and a walk in the park, perhaps with tea at the Orangery, is lovely. With such a short stay in London, I would rather try to see more of the city than take side trips or the trip to Kew Gardens because it takes so much time. The British Museum, the Victoria & Albert, the Museum of London, the Tower of London, The Churchill War Rooms, Covent Garden, all those things that you have read about and so many others that may especially interest you will make your time just fly by. Your only solution is to keep going back. I hope you have a super time.
 
Jan 5th, 2003, 12:37 PM
  #11  
xxx
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Danni,
I, too ,suggest you forego any day trips this time. You have such a limited time and there is so much to see in London.
If you are interested in gardens, St. James Park is lovely in the springtime.
You can take the Tube to Green Park, stroll towards Buckingham Palace, then enter St. James Park and stroll towards Trafalgar Square. Once you have seen the square then cross over to St Martins-in-the Field Church and on into Covent Garden.
That will be a nice introduction to London.. and will make you want to return for another visit.
Enjoy
 
Jan 5th, 2003, 03:00 PM
  #12  
bettyk
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Danni, if you will send me your email address, I can forward our London itinerary to you. It may be of some help in "grouping" places together. We also stayed near Victoria Station. Got a good deal thru londontown.com at the Rubens Hotel across from Buckingham Palace. However, since there were 4 of us traveling, we decided to use Ray Skinner's car service (www.london-transfers.com) which had been recommended on Fodor's. From Heathrow directly to your hotel costs 34 pounds for 1-3 people and 49 pounds for 4-7 people.
 
Jan 5th, 2003, 09:20 PM
  #13  
xxx
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Unfortunately, Lynn's advice is not terribly useful to Danni. She stayed near Paddington. Danni is staying near Victoria and must add a fairly grueling trip on the circle line at rush hour or a cab ride, and as Janice mentioned above, the morning queues for cabs at Paddington can be incredibly long. You will be in competition with thousands of commuters coming in from the NW.
 
Jan 6th, 2003, 06:23 AM
  #14  
Karen
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Danni,

I am going to London from Jan. 16 to 29th. When I get back, I plan to post a trip report. Maybe I can give you some ideas. Keep a look out in early February for a London trip report under my name/email if you are interested.

Happy travels,
Karen
 
Jan 6th, 2003, 07:20 AM
  #15  
Rich
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Hi Danni,
You should really know that there is not too much to see in Bath, a day should be more than enough.
You don't say what part of Wales you are visiting.
You have a whole week, did you know that Wales is quite possibly one of the most beautiful places in UK?
There are great places to visit.
And there is certainly more to Britain than London.
Although if you go to the Victoria and Albert Museum there is a wonderful courtyard right in the centre where you can relax and rest your tired feet.
If you need further help to fill your week in Wales let me know on this Forum.

Cheers

Rich
 

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