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London Itinerary Check and Suggestions Please


Jul 23rd, 2012, 02:37 PM
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London Itinerary Check and Suggestions Please

Hi, London Fodorites.

For the London portion of my trip to England, would love for the locals to give a look-see and possibly offer reccos/tips for me--interested in 19th century London and historical botanical exploration (as you'll see in my itinerary).

Question marks for dining: solo traveler, casual, vegetarian, all cuisines, price flexible, but at first blush, perhaps max.15 GBP for b'fast/lunch; max 25 GBP dinner. Atmosphere=bright + people-watching opps especially welcome.

Day 1 - My Travel Day
• arrive LHR 7:05 am, tube to Kings Cross Station
• Drop bags off at hotel (across from Kings Cross)
• Sir John Soane’s Museum (walk 1.2 miles from hotel)
• (?) Lunch: reccos
• City of London Museum, 150 London Wall (walk 1.1 miles from John Soanes)
• Visit The Old Bailey (.5 miles from City of London Museum; time/energy permitting)
• (?) Dinner: reccos

Day 2 - Early night due to painfully early train on Day 3
• (?) B’fast:
• Chiswick House
• Kew Gardens
• (?) Dinner:
• Bed early for early departure

Day 3-8: not in London

Day 9:
• Arr London 4:32 p.m./16:32; check-in to Bankside location hotel
• (?) Monday Night: Theater or Neighborhood dinner? (Posting question in separate topic re: neighborhoods)

Day 10:
• B’fast at The Wolseley Café
• The Royal Institute (new for me)
• Walk south end Hyde Park to…
• Science Museum (new for me)
• V&A (recently visited; only 1-2 galleries)
• (?) Lunch:
• Quick tour (possible?) of Royal Geographical Society/Lowther Lodge
• (?) Dinner

Day 11: TBD

Day 12: Departure Day
• Hotel is near Tate Modern
• (?) B’fast
• 9:30ish; Walk (1.4 miles) to Garden Museum, 5 Lambeth Palace Rd (South Bank of Thames)
• Lunch at Borough Market (?) or near Blackfriar’s tube stop (?)
• 12:30-1 pm: Travel to LHR; London Blackfriar’s tube (District line ) to Acton (transfer to Piccadilly line to LHR)
• Dep LHR 515 pm/1715

Any red flags?
Many thanks in advance for any tips or thoughts!
ChgoGal is offline  
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 03:42 PM
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just a couple of initial quick comments:

I think your day 1 is very difficult. Sir John Soanes and the Museum of London on jet lag wouldn't be my choice.

And day 12 is tough (maybe impossible). I assume you'll have to return to your hotel to retrieve your luggage. Bankside to Lambeth Palace, back to Borough Mkt, lunch, back to Hotel, cross river to Blackfriars all before 1PM.

I'd change tube lines at Hammersmith (or depending on where exactly the hotel is - catch the tube at Southwark instead, change at Green park and on to LHR)
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Jul 24th, 2012, 04:32 AM
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Sorry to throw another spanner in the works, but for botanical history, the Chelsea Physic Garden would be worth a visit:

For Day 12, you could get bus 344 from Southwark Bridge Road to the Garden Museum, which I don't think would detain you for more than a couple of hours, so you would have time to double back for your luggage. The issue is where and when you could fit lunch in: it would have to be early and you couldn't linger over it. I second janis's suggestion about Blackfriars - I can't see the point of that.
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Jul 24th, 2012, 06:44 AM
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On the first part only you know how you do with jet lag but I find that inside activities leave me just walking around sleeping. Maybe the walk to John Soane museum is enough exercise and daylight though. But I wouldn't try both museums on the same day as arrival. Near John Soane is the inns of court which are fun architecture to walk around.

The Museum of London is great and has been recently renovated but quite extensive, maybe save that for the one TBD day you have and combine with finding London's Roman sights nearby. Also near there is Bow Lane for some of London's practically medieval architecture and some light dining options.

On the second part, for Monday night considering you are staying on South Bank, you might look at what is on at live theater National Theatre, Old Vic (Kevin Spacey is the artistic director) or Young Vic or on film at the British Film Institute. The street in the same area called "The Cut" has many restaurants of all kinds including the Hope and Anchor which has gotten high reviews as one of the original "gastropubs". The Young Vic also has a nice cafe right at the theater which is good people watching.

Or if you wanted to go to Sloane Square Monday night (one of the suggestions to you on your other posting) you could do Royal Court Theater which is right there at the Sloane Square tube stop and before or after the show one of the cafes or restaurants at Duke of York Square (just down Kings Road from Sloane Square on the South Side).

Other good suggestions for lunch the day you are science and V&A is the cafe at Harvey Nichols department store.

And that last day why not lunch at Tate Modern if that is by your hotel. The restaurant upstairs has nice views across the river.
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Jul 24th, 2012, 07:21 AM
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THE best thing about the 19th century for years has been the BBC2 series "The Secret History of Our Streets"

You can't get BBC catch up in the US, but given the pressure on their budgets they're repeating these things (usually on BBC4) within weeks. Be sure to bring a laptop you can download the catchup onto in the hope there'll be episodes accessible in Britain while you're here.
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Jul 24th, 2012, 07:49 AM
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thanks for the recommendation flanner

We're currently watching 'Turn Back Time' - I'll get DH to download 'The Secrets' and we'll watch it on Apple TV.

Looks like an interesting watch.
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Jul 24th, 2012, 10:11 AM
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THANK YOU! Been swamped this a.m. so haven't had time to incorporate changes, yet, but wonderful info and thoughts. Thanks to you all!
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Jul 24th, 2012, 12:31 PM
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I like the Jewellry rooms at the V&A. http://www.vam.ac.uk/page/j/jewellery/
The plaster cast area is fun to walk through, too. You can get a nice lunch there, inside or in the courtyard.
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Jul 25th, 2012, 03:01 PM
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These are great reccos.

@Janisj & Patrick: Thanks for the tube & bus info. I think I'll reorder my Garden Museum day. There's an exhibit I'm really keen to see and don't want to be rushed. I believe Borough Market has more on offer Thur-Sun (I hope), so maybe will spend a leisurely morning there on my last day, depressed over leaving London again.

@Patrick- THANK YOU! I'd jotted down 'Visit Chelsea Physic Garden' on a note many months back and promptly lost, and forgot about it, completely.

@LaurieAnn: Fantastic, specific info. Thanks very much. I am excited about the London Museum so I'm leaving that as an option on another day. I've been lucky with jet lag the last several crossings, but maybe I'll not push it. I've not been in to the Vic, but I can already picture that as a good, Monday night option after a long travel day from the north.

@flanner: Thanks so much for the tip on "The secret history of our streets." Attempted to watch on my home computer and no-go. Will try on my speedier, work model, off hours. There's been great programs here on our PBS stations about the monarchy recently and Queen Victoria's reign (a nod to the Jubilee, I suppose). Hope to be able to watch these online.

Thanks to all for the replies! Such a great forum!
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Jul 25th, 2012, 11:56 PM
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>>I believe Borough Market has more on offer Thur-Sun (I hope)<<

Thursday-Saturday. The buzz that most people go for is primarily on a Saturday lunchtime/afternoon
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Sep 24th, 2012, 12:24 PM
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Hi, Fodorites.

I hope you'll indulge me. I'm resubmitting an itinerary as I didn't get to take my original trip earlier this month. Now looking at a shorter trip to London only. Booked rather quickly and am hastily getting the plan together again, as all the stars aligned to allow me to fly THIS WEEK! (Yikes!). Any reccos or red flags?

Day 1: Thursday
• Arrive LHR 9:00; tube to S. Kensington area hotel, drop off bags
• Walk 1.8 miles to Chelsea Physic Garden
• (?) Lunch/Tea en route from Earl’s Court Station area to Chelsea Garden. I think I might like a light sandwich or tea. Any places spring to mind? (Would love to have afternoon tea, actually.)
• 12:30-: Chelsea Physic Garden (open 12:30 - 17:00)
• If not tired, maybe walk (1.13 miles ) to V&A (open till 17:45; fashion exhibit/British Galleries 1500-1900; level 4) OR… Royal Institution of Great Britain (Sloane Square to Victoria to Green Park tube; closed Fri-Sun this week)

Day 2: Friday
• Tube to Garden Museum (Earls Court to Westminster); open 10:30
• Tube to Museum of London (closes 18:00); Westminster to Monument to Moorgate
• (?) Lunch near the Museum of London/Barbican
• Walk (1 mile) to Central Criminal Court/Old Bailey – Leave camera at Bailey café across street (2 gbp); Public gallery (30 min minimum)
• (?) Is there a westbound bus line from the City to the South Kensington area?
• If not too tire, late night V&A (open till 11 pm)

Day 3: Saturday
• Early am: antique hunt; waiting confirmation of opening time of Portobello Road: Antique stand 20A Antiques Arcade, 113 Portobello Road or 291 Westbourne Grove, Tel: 020 8940 0576
• 11:00-13:00: London Walks–Oscar Wilde; start at Green Park Tube (meet outside the north exit, on the corner); Tube: Earls Court to Green Park
• 15:30: Museum tour 18 Stafford Terrace (tube from Green Park, to South Kensington, to High Street Kensington)

Day 4: Sunday
• tube to Kew Gardens; Gardens open at 9:30 am
• Walk to Chiswick
• Tube (Turnham Green) back to city (Earls Court)
• Evening TBD

Day 5: Monday (Departure Day)
• 10 am: Visit Royal Geographical Society (open 10 am)
• Walk (1.2 miles) to hotel, pick up bag; Earl’s Court Tube to LHR (1:00 leave Earls Court for a 5:15 pm flight)

Anything look crazy to you?
As always, your feedback is so helpful and appreciated!
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Sep 24th, 2012, 01:00 PM
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Glad you managed to get a trip in after all.

You'll need to watch the weather. Autumn has definitely arrived, I'm afraid, and it's a bit uncertain until at least Friday, on present form, with rain forecast for late Thursday afternoon:

You might want to keep some indoor interests in reserve, in case.

Kew Gardens had to close today, after the weather brought down a tree branch which killed someone; they will re-open tomorrow, but keep an eye on that too.

>>Is there a westbound bus line from the City to the South Kensington area? <<

No, but you could get the 8 to Tottenham Court Road, and then walk back round the corner to stop R on Bloomsbury St and take the 14 from there.

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Sep 24th, 2012, 01:39 PM
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Thanks, Patrick!

Yes, so happy and excited to be able to return. I've been as sulky as a two-year-old not getting to travel anywhere. And to add insult to injury, I've had to pick up/drop off folks at O'Hare in the interim, which makes me horribly jealous.

Yes... autumn has landed in Chicago, too. We seem to have skipped over the fall and gone into winter. Terribly cold here, and as I'll be often outdoors in London, am prepared to pack warm. Thanks for the tip... I'll jot down some other indoor activities to keep in my pocket.

Thanks for the bus lines. I was going blind trying to figure out a route on my downloaded bus map. I think the 14 and 74 bus will be getting me back to my hotel often.

Am hoping you and other London fodorites may be available for an after-work/after-museum hours GTG... but will post separately. It's short notice, but would be so nice for me if a few London-based folks might come out for a drink or two!
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Sep 24th, 2012, 03:26 PM
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Note that you plan on possibly going to V&A to see the exhibitions after the Chelsea Physic Garden. I've seen the V&A exhibitions and liked them (and the V&A museum is my favourite London museum) but there is a pre-raphaelite exhibition at Tate Britain near Pimlico - it started a couple of weeks ago. I went last week and thought it was terrific - but I admit I am a huge pre-raphaelite fan.
Agree with Patrick you may want to look at what the weather is doing, today its been raining heavily in London and I believe more is forecast.
On your Friday, for lunch one suggestion if you are going to the Old Bailey would be to go to the Old Bank of England which is just next to it - old banking hall now a pub.
Happy to meet for a drink if you have some free time .....
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Sep 24th, 2012, 03:40 PM
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Sorry, got confused above - the Old Bank of England is next to the Royal Courts of Justice and not the Old Bailey where you are planning to go to. However, if you go to the Royal Courts of Justice instead the Old Bank of England is a very interesting pub.
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Sep 24th, 2012, 07:29 PM
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Seems well thought out and doable to me. Enjoy!
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Sep 24th, 2012, 10:40 PM
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Just a couple of quick comments:

• The Physic Garden has a cafe on site - lunches and afternoon teas

• The earlier you get to Portobello Rd the better - technically it doesn't 'open' until 9AM. But I usually try to get there around 8AM or 8:30. Not every stall will be open but they will all at least be setting up. By the time you'll be leaving to catch the walk it will be really packed -especially if the weather is decent.
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Sep 25th, 2012, 12:46 AM
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Borough Mkt is closed on Sunday! for Lunch near the V&A try orsini across the street have dessert mama Orsini makes them all in hOuse oR Cafe Montepeliano further along on the same side as museum
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Sep 25th, 2012, 02:08 AM
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On Friday you could go to Whitecross Street Market for lunch as its a short walk from the Museum of London:

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Sep 25th, 2012, 09:38 AM
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All great suggestions, thank you!
@janisj - Yes, good idea. Just spoke to the ONE dealer my father wants me to visit. She's there at 7 am, so that will work well as I must be at the Green Park tube at 11 sharp. I may have my tea at the garden... might be the best solution for my jet-lagged brain.

@jamikins - thanks for the suggestion on whitecross. Sounds like a good idea. I'm sure to find too much to tempt me. Sorry I won't be able to see you and Scott this weekend!

@Avalon2 - thanks for the reccos near the V&A. I'll check them both out. I remember just ducking into a coffee shop a block away to eat and it was less than memorable.

@Mary24... The Old Bank of England was recco'd to me before by Patrick. I definitely want to see this gorgeous pub. Trying to get a GTG together for Friday, Saturday or Sunday. See my other post if you think you can come! Right now it's only me and (possibly) Patrick, and I wouldn't drag the poor man out for just me!
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