Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   London in 7 days - suggestion needed (

latedaytraveler Aug 6th, 2014 05:56 PM


You folks will have a great time in London. I loved the BRITISH LIBRARY tour which is offered weekdays at 10:30 AM (11:30 on Sundays) and 3PM for £8. The place is huge and the information is fascinating.

As suggested above, forget the zoo and aquarium.

maxima Aug 6th, 2014 06:41 PM

you can very easily take a train to Windsor from London, from Paddington Station, you will have to change at Slough, where you simply walk over to another track for the train to Windsor. the trip is about 30 minutes each way, and there are frequent trains. its a very short walk into the center of town and to the castle.

the british army sets the schedule so its subject to change but here is a Windsor Castle Guard Mount Time & Schedule

The ceremony, usually, takes place in the Castle's quadrangle at 11:30am
There is no guard change on Sundays
You will need tickets to get into Windsor Castle.

Days Windsor Castle Guard Change Occurs

Windsor Castle Guard Change Schedule

August: 2nd - 4th - 6th - 8th - 12th - 14th - 16th - 18th - 20th - 22nd - 26th - 28th - 30th

janisj Aug 6th, 2014 06:57 PM

>>you can very easily take a train to Windsor from London, from Paddington Station, you will have to change at Slough, <<

Or you can take the train from Waterloo and not have a change. The Paddington and Waterloo trains arrive at different stations in Windsor but both are walking distance to the Castle.

tom_mn Aug 6th, 2014 10:51 PM

The cheapest ride on the tube is $7.50, decent hotels start at $280 for a small room, and for a family if 5 to ENTER Westminster Abbey (no tour) is $90. Bargains everywhere in London I guess.

Tulips Aug 6th, 2014 11:22 PM

The tube costs 7 pounds for the day, if you start after 9.30 am - off peak cap for zone 1 and 2, so you will not spend more than that if you use an oyster card, which everyone who has done a tiny bit of research would know.

British museum, national gallery, V&A, natural history museum, tate etc are free. If you have a few higher cost sites, on average you will still spend less than in NYC. The Met is 25 dollars.

London is a huge city, property is expensive therefore hotel prices are high. Compare this to NYC, which is not cheap either. For a family of 5 I would always opt for a flat, rather than hotel.

Tulips Aug 6th, 2014 11:32 PM

If you want to go shopping on Saturday afternoon, go to Marylebone High Street. Go to the Wallace Collection nearby for tea, it has a wonderful restaurant.

Whatever you do, stay away from Oxford Street on Saturdays, it's hell.

You can visit Portobello Road any day of the week, there are still antique shops and other shops and cafes. The stalls are only there Friday and Saturday. And even on Saturday, move away from Portobello for a block or two, to Westbourne Grove and Ledbury Road, and the crowds are gone.

tom_mn Aug 7th, 2014 12:03 AM

Off peak day pass for tube was 8.40 last month.

There's a lot to see in England that will be less crowded and less expensive than London and little is more than a 3 hour train ride away.

I'm still recommending 2 full days in London than some time elsewhere.

Josser Aug 7th, 2014 01:10 AM

The OP definitely says that they are wanting to visit London. Somebody has already given good advice about the 2 for 1 offers. I'm disappointed that you haven't come up with a cunning plan to circumvent those tube and entrance fees. Weren't you planning to smuggle one of your offspring into a hotel room in a rucksack?

Tulips Aug 7th, 2014 01:19 AM

8.40 is the peak rate per day. Children under 11 travel free.
Westminster Abbey is 44 pounds for a family of 2 adults and 2 children.
You can take the train to somewhere else, but trains cost money too. And there is just so much to see and do in London.

Sure, you can spend a lot of money in London, but you don't have to. I get a bit tired hearing that London is super expensive. A Starbucks cappucino in Antwerp costs about a euro more than it does in London, for the smallest size.

Josser Aug 7th, 2014 01:22 AM

Have you considered Greenwich? You can get to it by boat.
You can also get there via the Docklands Light Railway. The Foot Tunnel is an interesting bit of Victoriana. From a website

"You can walk under the river to Greenwich through a foot tunnel from the north side of the river at Island Gardens. Some of the best views of the Old Royal Naval College are from Island Gardens which is also the last stop on the DLR before Greenwich, so it is possible to get off here and enjoy the view and then walk through the tunnel to Greenwich. "

Josser Aug 7th, 2014 01:25 AM

The website I quoted is

jamikins Aug 7th, 2014 04:32 AM

You can also take an overland train to Greenwich from London bridge either direct or with one stop.

Preet81 Aug 7th, 2014 05:22 AM

Is the dates for changing of guards different for Buckingham palace. Acc to the site

August: 1st - 3rd - 5th - 7th - 9th - 11th -13th - 15th
17th - 19th - 21st - 23rd - 25th - 27th - 29th -31st

at around 11:15.

So I plan to do the below on 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

BigRuss Aug 7th, 2014 06:57 AM

BTW, when we went to Windsor we were able to buy ticket vouchers for 3 quid off entrance price at Waterloo when we bought our train tickets. The vouchers meant we skipped the L O N G line outside the ticket booths and just went to the ticket holder line where we exchanged the vouchers for actual ducats.

You need to reconfigure your itinerary. <b>Do the Tower on Sept 4 because you can use the 2for1 admission then</b>. Don't do Madame Tussaud, a ton of money to look at wax figurines. Yawn.

If one or more of your "we" is a man, then go to Jermyn Street for shopping because it has stuff he can buy without breaking the bank (unlike Harrods).

And if you ever pay retail price for the Tube, you're a complete fool. Just use the 2for1 information I gave you earlier.

janisj Aug 7th, 2014 08:18 AM

<B>Preet81: </B> >>at around 11:15.<<

Just so you understand that does NOT mean getting there at 11:00 or 11:15. One needs to be there at least 90 minutes before if you want to get a good view point. And then stay right there for the next 2 hours+ - w/o moving.

<B>tom_mm:</B> You have been there once, made some unfortunate choices, and have a bad taste in your month about the costs. (It probably got you off in a bad frame of mind from the get go when you were taken to task on here for asking about 'sneaking' a child into hotel rooms). Yes, traveling w/ a large family can be expensive anywhere, but if you had used these forums more we could have given you all sorts of good advice. I understand you were annoyed -- but you missed out on a LOT of help (like that taking buses in cheaper than the tube)

tom_mn Aug 7th, 2014 08:21 AM

My info is correct, 8.40 is the off peak (not full) price of a one day tube travel card, and also the family of 5 for Westminster Abbey being about $90 if one of the children is over 15 since family tickets in UK never cover 16/17 year olds, who are charged the full adult admission or sometimes student reduced rate. Interesting contrast to say Paris where children under 18 get into most places free with a parent.

I realize the OP will ignore my advice but others do read these for info also.

A last comment is that the British Museum does not have AC so it's rather like a steam room on a warmish-not-even-that-hot day. I suggest that if you want to last more than 90 minutes wear a speedo and flip flops-- that's what I did.

Tulips Aug 7th, 2014 09:15 AM

Oyster pay as you go daily price cap 7 pounds for zones 1 and 2, bus and tube.
Using only the bus is cheaper.
Walking in your flipflops and speedos is cheaper still.

tom_mn Aug 7th, 2014 09:55 AM

Wow, one day travel card actually 8.90.

FYI: I had a free place to stay and skipped W Abbey and the M Eye which would have been +$200 for 5, still enjoyed short visit. London much improved over last visit in 80s when it was a polluted and dirty and faded imperial capital with a lot of dog poop and bad modern architecture. Now a really impressive city but I prefer other parts of England.

janisj Aug 7th, 2014 10:15 AM

Are all your kids between 11 and 18? If so the Abbey would have been £18 + £18 +£8 +£8 +£8 =£60. If one is under 11 would have been £52. If you stayed 'free' as you claim, IMO it is criminal you didn't go inside the Abbey. You saw it 30 years ago but your kids didn't get the chance.

janisj Aug 7th, 2014 10:16 AM

but let's not hijack Preet's thread commenting about tom's ill-informed advice . . .

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:32 PM.