London in 7 days - suggestion needed

Aug 6th, 2014, 08:59 AM
  #1  
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London in 7 days - suggestion needed

We are going to London for 7 days. We are a couple in early 30s and our interest is inclined towards parks, events, shopping and landmarks etc rather than museums. Our hotel is near Hyde Park

I tried to consolidate a plan for our and is as below

Aug 29 - Landing at 9:20 AM - Planning to take a Hop on Hop off bus in the afternoon for London Key sites like Buckingham Palace,Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye and the many bridges that cross the River Thames( Quick look)
. Dinner at at the Sherlock Holmes Pub, near Trafalgar Square

Aug 30 - Bus for a full day tour out to Windsor Castle( see change of guards here), Stonehenge and Bath

Aug 31 - A morning tour of the Tower of London
The afternoon visit to shopping areas including Portobello Market, and Piccadilly Circus.

Sep 1 - Westminster Abbey in the morning.
Head for the South Bank for a trip on the London Eye.

Walk along the South Bank Walk, heading towards Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. The Walk runs alongside the River Thames and we can see such sights as the London Aquarium, Jubilee Gardens, Royal Festival Hall, the National Theatre, Tate Modern, and several bridges, such as the Millennium Footbridge and Waterloo Bridge

Sep 2 - Trip to the British Library in the morning, where there is a room full of literary treasures on display - is there a tea here?

For more shopping, go to Oxford Street.

Sep 3- British Museum in the morning , Visit to London Zoo, The Regent Park

Sep 4 - Visit Buckingham palace in morning, Hyde Park visit

At night, Take a dinner cruise along the River Thames

Sep 5 - Filght back to US in afternoon

We can not cover everything in the trip but please let me know if I am missing any garden , park or landmark in the plan which is a must watch. I have a couple of questions regarding this plan

Aug 29 as we land the same day, will be able to do sightseeing of all those key places in about half a day or should I give it 1 more day?

Will I be able to see change of Guards in Windsor castle( Aug 30) if we take a bus at 10 AM from near our hotel?

Should I buy a London pass or London for 2 . I have not bought any tickets yet except flight going to London and hotel reservation.

Are there any events during this time which I am missing?

Thank you so much in advance!
Preet81 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2014, 09:18 AM
  #2  
 
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I don't have time for a longer post right now since I'm getting late for an appointment . . . BUR two red flags right off the top

You get off the plane most likely jet lagged and immediately the next day leave London of a loooooooong coach tour. Bad idea IMO.

>>The afternoon visit to shopping areas including Portobello Market, and Piccadilly Circus.<<

Portobello Rd Market is on Saturdays and you are planning it for Sunday. And I wouldn't plan a shopping trip focused on Picadilly Circus.

The British Library is quite near the British Museum - I'd maybe combine them on the same day.

More later . . . and Do NOT but the London Pass!
janisj is online now  
Aug 6th, 2014, 09:27 AM
  #3  
 
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You seem to have a mania for the bridges in London. Frankly - they are bridges - nothing special. I can;t imagine going out of my way to see any of them (not like Pont Neuf in Paris). If you walk over one to get somewhere fine - but they really aren't "sights".

As for shopping. What do you want to buy - or are you just browsing. Prices in UK are likely to be much higher than in the US for the same thing (if that's where you are from). So if you tell us what you want and what price range (budget, moderate, luxury) people can reco areas and stores.

I love to visit Harrod's - not to buy anything except pasties or chocs in the food court - but just to see some of the luxury goods and interesting departments. Also nice place to have an afternoon tea. But you don;t shop in Picadilly Circus - except for post cards.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 6th, 2014, 09:41 AM
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janisj is right on, as usual.

Why not substitute your Sept. 4 itinerary for your day of arrival: check into hotel, freshen up, have lunch, then walk around Hyde Park and take a look at the Palace. You can't get into Buckingham Palace, but there is a small art museum you can see.

Aug. 30: that is going to be a very long day trip. Have you booked this yet? I'd think about Windsor Castle with a trip to Hampton Court Palace instead. With seven days, you probably have time for another day trip in which you can do Stonehenge, Avebury (a better site IMO) and possibly Bath.

Combine British Museum and British Library in one day to make the time.

On September 1, you can walk around near the Houses of Parliament while you're at Westminster Abbey.

No London Pass because most things in London are free. Do get Oyster cards when you get there for your transportation needs. No Hop on Hop Off bus needed, either.
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Aug 6th, 2014, 10:00 AM
  #5  
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Thank you all for the replies.

When should I see changing of guards? does anyone know when is the ceremony happening in September? Where should I see it from - Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle?
Preet81 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2014, 12:15 PM
  #6  
ESW
 
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There is information about Changing of the Guard in Windsor here:
http://www.windsor.gov.uk/things-to-...-guard-p264351

and at Buckingham Palace here:
http://www.changing-the-guard.com/dates-times.html
Although this only lists August, in September it is on the even days.

Final choice may come down to which date you do either Windsor or Buckingham Palace and what time you are likely to be at either place.
ESW is offline  
Aug 6th, 2014, 12:29 PM
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<>

Do not buy the London pass.

Do not do the hop on hop off, there are various bus lines that will take you to see what you want like the # 9, 15, 136. They get just as caught up in traffic as the HOHO buses, but don't cost $35 per person.

The "London for 2" probably means the 2for1 offers, right? If so, do this:

(1) Go to www.daysoutguide.co.uk. Print every voucher offer that looks interesting. There is no limit.

(2) Bring passport size headshots of you and the other half of "we" with you to London.

(3) Purchase 7-day paper travelcard for each person (zones 1-2 only) at nearest NATIONAL RAIL station (Victoria, Charing X, St Pancras, etc) ticket booth. You will get a flimsy orange-ish paper card. Use that on the Tube and buses.

(4) Present appropriate voucher with you and travelcard at site covered by voucher program (e.g., Tower, Churchill War Rooms, etc).

Check Londontown.com and timeout.com for events.

Leave your Eye times open - London weather changes frequently. The Eye won't be fun in a rainstorm.
BigRuss is offline  
Aug 6th, 2014, 12:48 PM
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London is super expensive so consider spending some days elsewhere, say on the sea.

Also I qualified for the 2-4-1 offers because I took rail to / from London from Gatwick (most land at Heathrow and tube it in and that doesn't work) but ended up not using any coupons. The only major attractions are the war rooms (still very pricy even at 2-4-1) and the the Tower but that offer is suspended mid-July to early sept.

Many London admissions are in the $30 US range but with half of Italy and a quarter of China vacationing there at any given time they can get away with it.
tom_mn is offline  
Aug 6th, 2014, 01:05 PM
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<>

Well, there's a nice stereotyping.
BigRuss is offline  
Aug 6th, 2014, 01:08 PM
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London is not super expensive - the museums are almost all free and there are lots of inexpensive places to eat. I hate that stereotype.
jamikins is offline  
Aug 6th, 2014, 01:19 PM
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Back:

First of all . . . >>You can't get into Buckingham Palace,<<

Yes you can! It is open to the public in August and September. VERY HIGHLY Recommended.

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/vi...kingham-palace

Please ignore suggestions to leave London - you have a very short visit. If you had 10 days.2 weeks then sure spend a few days out in the countryside. London does not need to be expensive - there are LOTS of ways to save a bit of ££.
janisj is online now  
Aug 6th, 2014, 01:43 PM
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Agree that London is not necessarily expensive. Many museums are free. Restaurants often have great deals, menus for around 10 pounds, tube and bus are not expensive.
I often buy things in London much more cheaply than in Belgium, where I live. That includes many cosmetics.

Portobello Road on a Saturday: go early and leave by 11 am. Friday morning is better.

The poppies at the Tower look amazing, go early so you can take photos before the crowds arrive.
Tulips is offline  
Aug 6th, 2014, 01:57 PM
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If anyone is interested - one can purchase a poppy (to be posted after the Nov. 11 commemorations

http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/...ondonRemembers
janisj is online now  
Aug 6th, 2014, 03:27 PM
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>Sep 2 - Trip to the British Library in the morning, where there is a room full of literary >treasures on display - is there a tea here?

There is a cafeteria - not a picturesque tea room - at the British Library. Prices are quite reasonable for London, food is good cafeteria standard. I think outside there is or used to be a tea cart.

Lavandula
lavandula is offline  
Aug 6th, 2014, 03:57 PM
  #16  
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Thank you all for your suggestions.

I made some changes as per the advice.

Aug 29 - Landing at 9:20 AM - check in - relax - Hyde Park visit in the afternoon

Aug 30 - A morning tour of the Tower of London , The afternoon visit to shopping areas including Portobello Market, and Harrods.
Piccadilly Circus in the evening

Aug 31 - Buchimgham palace in morning (see changing of guards),
Visit to Brick Lane/Spitalfields Market
Dinner at at the Sherlock Holmes Pub, near Trafalgar Square

Sep 1 - Westminster Abbey in the morning.
Quick look of Big Ben, Parliament
Head for the South Bank for a trip on the London Eye.
Walk along the South Bank Walk, heading towards Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.
The Walk runs alongside the River Thames and we can see such sights as the London Aquarium, Jubilee Gardens, Royal Festival Hall, the National Theatre, Tate Modern

Sep 2 - Day trip to Windsor Castle ( using public transport)
At night, Take a dinner cruise along the River Thames

Sep 3- Trip to the British Library & British Museum - Afternoon tea at british meuseum
Visit to London Zoo, The Regent Park
Night experience of London eye

Sep 4 - Madam Tussaud, Camden Market

Sep 5 - Flight back to US in afternoon

Please let me know if this looks doable. Thanks!

Can you suggest me any more places where its lively in late evenings
Preet81 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2014, 04:37 PM
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You have to decide how important Portobello Road is to you. It is not a good Saturday afternoon activity.

The way to see/shop at Portobello Road is to get there VERY early in the AM (Unfortunately this will be you first full day in London and early may not be easy.) - like 8:00 or 8:30 and be out of there by 10:00AM. After about 9:30 it just becomes unbelievably crowded - too crowded to see anything really and way too crowded to walk comfortably. This may give you an idea. Both of these were taken fairly early in the day before it got REALLY crowded.

http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/med...5ecb993bfc.jpg

http://cdn1.images.touristlink.com/d...et_400_300.jpg

If you can't get there early - I personally won't go at all.

I would ditch both the zoo and aquarium. And I enjoy zoos/aquaria. The London zoo is OK but not really world class and takes a lot of time. The aquarium is definitely meh . . . IF you've been to any other good aquariums.
janisj is online now  
Aug 6th, 2014, 04:45 PM
  #18  
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Thanks jainsj, I will skip Portobello Market, Zoo/ aquarium.

What else can you suggest me for Saturday afternoon / evening?
Any suggestions for nightlife? Clubs?
Preet81 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2014, 05:04 PM
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>>Any suggestions for nightlife? Clubs?<<

Are you interested in theatre? Scores of plays/musicals running in the West End and elsewhere.

I would not do Harrods on Saturday. It gets crowded every day - but on Saturdays it can get so over-crowded that TFL actually closes (temporarily) the exit from the tube station. I might pick one of your weekday mornings to hit Harrods.

I see your plans are light on museums or galleries -- I would ditch Mme Tussauds and add something better like the Victoria & Albert or National Gallery or Imperial War Museum (just re-opened after major refurbishing and the WWII Centenary).

I would also ditch the dinner cruise. Most are over priced and the food is underwhelming. I'd take a daytime boat trip instead and then have a very nice dinner (on land). will cost less by far, you'll see more and eat better. After visiting the Tower of London you could take a boat from Tower Pier to Westminster Pier.
janisj is online now  
Aug 6th, 2014, 05:31 PM
  #20  
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We are not into theaters. Can you recommend any places to spend Saturday evening / night?
Preet81 is offline  

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