London Itinerary Help!

May 16th, 2011, 05:46 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 4
London Itinerary Help!

Hello fellow travelers!

I am in the process of planning a July trip to London for just four/five days and would love some advice on my current itinerary. I will be taking a red-eye from the States and will arrive at Gatwick at 1PM (1300). Please let me know if you feel I should move things around, remove something all together, or if I am missing any important stops. Also, let me know if you think my scheduled times are not practical.

Day 1 (Fri)
1300: Land in London/Gatwick (How long will it take to get to Victoria Station with Gatwick Express if I am landing at 1300?)
1500: Stroll through Westminster: Buckingham Palace, Westminster, etc. (not going into any of the sites)
1830: London Eye
1900: Dinner

Day 2 (Sat)
800: Breakfast in Covent Garden
1000: National Gallery
1200: National Portrait Gallery
1300: Lunch in Trafalgar Square
1400: London Pride Parade (observe)
1630: Tate Modern
1800: Dinner in Southwark
1930: Shakespeare Play at Globe Theatre

Day 3 (Sun)
800: Breakfast in Covent Garden
1000: Walk through Holborn
1100: Walk by St. Paul's Cathedral
1200: Lunch
1300: Walk through The City
1500: Museum of London
1700: Dinner

Day 4 (Mon)
930: British Library
1030: British Museum
1300: Walk through Grosvenor Square./Oxford St./Bond Streets/Piccadilly Circus
1700: Stroll through Regent's Park

Day 5 (Tue)
900: Tower of London
1200: Lunch
1300: V&A/Science/Natural History (which one is best?)
1500: Stroll through Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens


I am very open to comments/criticism! Thank you all in advance for any assistance!!!!
jerseyucf is offline  
May 16th, 2011, 06:07 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Doesn't look too ambitious and without looking at in great detail looks like you've grouped things well.

I'm pretty sure you can't possibly be strolling Westminster area 2 hours after arrival at Gatwick--more like 4? Takes time to go through "stuff" plus travel plus check-in plus get back to Westminster. But as long as you don't have anything definitely planned that day, then it won't matter too much.

Any reason, other than cost, for not going IN Westminster Abbey and/or St Paul's? I'd take my Eye money and use it for entrances to one or both of these two incredible churches.

I'd say V&A. Haven't been to other two but I hear they aren't as unique as V&A.

I guess you have your Globe tickets already?
texasbookworm is offline  
May 16th, 2011, 06:07 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 6,047
Doable. You have for the most part combined attractions in the same area (almost a first on here - well done!).

I would perhaps leave slightly longer for dinner if eating at a 'sit down' place rather than a cafe or fast-food joint, and if it preceeeds something else, like a play or a show.

Regarding the musuems on the last day, V&A or Science Musuem would be my choices over the Natural History Museum.
RM67 is offline  
May 16th, 2011, 06:25 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,525
MY last trip. landed at Gatwick 7AM, luggage by 7:30. caught the 8:26AM Gatwick Express and at Victoria at 30 minutes later. If you want to get and fill Oyster card, there is a London Transport office straight ahead to the right when you exit the G.E.

You are doing lots of walking. Perhaps consider doing London Walks. For example, they have an afternoon one to St Paul's

Lunch at Trafalgar..consider going into the crypt of St Martin in the Fields, nice cafe.

You have been before?
Michel_Paris is offline  
May 16th, 2011, 06:38 AM
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You seem to walk by a lot of sites (Westminster Abbey, St Paul's), or skip some of the main ones (Tower of London), but then go to others (Museum of London). Wasn't sure of your interests.
Michel_Paris is offline  
May 16th, 2011, 07:47 AM
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Just a thought on the Gatwick Express. They run every 15 mins and take about 30 mins to get to Victoria.

There is another option - just take the regular train from Gatwick to Victoria. Its cheaper and only takes slightly longer. Difference is that it stops a few times and there isnt as much space for luggage (and it doesnt stop for as long on its way out of Gatwick so you need to be ready to get on).
jamikins is offline  
May 16th, 2011, 07:52 AM
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All 3 museums that you mention on day 5 are free (donations welcomed) and they are next door to each other so you can decide for yourself on the day which you'd rather see or pop into 2 or 3 of them.

I prefer the V&A but my husband and kids prefer the Science Museum.
sassy_cat is offline  
May 16th, 2011, 08:10 AM
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I've always believed that walking is the best way to really experience a city, and London is very walkable. However, I suggest you have an alternative plan in case the weather is absolutely miserable. I also recommend the London Walks as they will give you a great deal of interesting and relatively unknown information about a particular area.
historytraveler is offline  
May 16th, 2011, 08:17 AM
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How are you going to blow through the Nat'l Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery in a combined 3 hours? Do you plan to look at anything in them or just walk the halls?

Why wouldn't you go into Westminster Abbey? You traveled all the way to London, you seem to be interested in British history, and you'd skip that?

1300: V&A/Science/Natural History (which one is best?) -- Um, whichever fits your interest is best.

Sunday is when the nutters go out to Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park and jabber away about their latest conspiracy theories. Much more interesting than walking through the City (which tends to be relatively deserted on weekends).
BigRuss is offline  
May 16th, 2011, 08:34 AM
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Definitely agree that the City will be DEAD on Sunday - no business, restaurants or pubs will be open and it will be a ghost town. Pubs dont even open on Saturdays in most of the City so I would change this to another day for sure.
jamikins is offline  
May 16th, 2011, 08:45 AM
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your Sunday makes almost no sense on any level. Not only is the City pretty much closed down -- walking past St Paul's is -- well, walking past a big church. The only real reason to go to St Pails is to go inside. (Same for Westminster Abbey BTW - though its surroundings do have more of interest for a glance - Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, St James's Park, etc.)

Since you are on such a short visit -- pick one, either St Paul's or Westminster Abbey and actually go inside. They are entirely different so it would be better if you could visit both, but one is better than none. (Not on a Sunday though unless you want to attend a service and not tour the bldg)
janisj is online now  
May 16th, 2011, 08:50 AM
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meant to ask -- where are you staying? Unless your hotel is right at Victoria Station it isn't very likely you'll be strolling the sites 2 hours after landing at LGW. Even if you are staying at Victoria -- I'd plan on another hour. Immigration, luggage, train ride, traveling to hotel, checking in, freshening up all take time.
janisj is online now  
May 16th, 2011, 11:19 AM
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I missed the City on Sunday part, but all are correct in saying it's pretty vacant on a Sunday. In fact the place seems virtually deserted, even a bit depressing. I'd switch it with your Trafalgar Square visits or your Monday itinerary.

I think three hours is probably a good time frame for visiting the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery. You certainly won't be able to see it all, but most visitors don't manage that on their first trip anyway. Even though I'm a huge fan, I often start getting a bit ansy after several hours. Just take in what interests you, and don't try to see it all. I do think the National, the Portrait and the Tate all in the same day might be art overload, but only you can make that determination.
historytraveler is offline  
May 16th, 2011, 04:04 PM
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I agree with skipping the Eye for a tour of Westminster Abbey and/or St. Paul's. A good thing to do on a Sunday - take the London Walk's tour of Hampstead - cost=8 GBP - just meet the guide at the designated tube station (check out the website), no need to pre-book.
dorfan2 is offline  
May 16th, 2011, 05:04 PM
Join Date: May 2011
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Michel_Paris made a great recommendation. The crypt of St Martin in the Fields is a lovely cafe, I went there the other weekend. I live in Borough, so know the Southbank area really well. I definitely recommend a visit to Southwark Cathredral in Bankside. The Miro exhibition is on at the Tate Modern, fantastic exhibition, I agree with historytraveler, too much art in one day. I would go to the tate after walking over the millenium bridge from St Pauls. The museum of London is 20 mins walk from St Paul's through the city.

You could also visit the Borough Market, a bit touristy now but well worth a visit. it's open Friday 12-6pm/Saturday 9 -4pm.

Have a pint of 'London Pride' in the Lord Clyde, a traditional London pub or the Gladstone Arms a funky backstreet pub.

Look at the George on Borough high street for the history, but too touristy and expensive for me.

This museum is quirky and interesting - check out the website:

Day 5 is some time travelling from one side of London to the other. I would look at your maps and group the museums in the same area together. They're all great. I love the science museum though.

I would also take a trip down the river to Greenwich and go to the Maritime museum, I think the best museum in London and look at the Royal Observatory. You can take a boat trip there from near the Tower of London or other piers. On Sundays Greenwich is lovely, there is a great market and it's buzzing with life.

National Maritime Museum website:

I would change your Sunday itinery and if you have tickets for 9am on Tuesday for the Tower of London, I would do that, cross over Tower bridge, walk along the southside past the HMS Belfast and Hays Galleria, visit Southwark Cathedral, which has a lovely cafe, walk through the market past The Golden Hind, over the Millenium bridge, St Pauls and visit the Museum of London.

I would also look at getting the first Capital connect service into London bridge/London Blackfriars. Very fast time to LB in 35 mins and much cheaper than the gatwick express.

This is a great website for all the attractions around Bankside:

Hope you have a fantastic trip!
Amanda_H is offline  
May 17th, 2011, 04:25 AM
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Assume you are staying in the Covent Garden area if you are breakfasting there.
Also recommend the crypt of St Martins in the Field for lunch when you have been to the National Gallery in Trafalgar Sq. (You can pick up a London Walks leaflet there, other posters have suggested their walks as something to do and you do seem to be scheduling a lot of walking -
Agree with the others that walking in the City on Sunday is pointless, if you are going to St Pauls that day you could go on to the Tower of London which is not too far away.
The V&A is my favourite large museum in London - but which you go to depends on your preferences. The best small museum - IMO - is the John Soane museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields which is near Holborn tube.
Have a great trip.
Mary24 is offline  
May 17th, 2011, 05:14 AM
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Lunch at Trafalgar..consider going into the crypt of St Martin in the Fields, nice cafe.

alihutch is offline  
May 17th, 2011, 06:29 AM
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The suggestions of St Martin's Crypt for lunch is a good one. But if you want a bit more upscale w/ a great view -- The Portrait Restaurant at the top of the Nat'l Portrait Gallery is really good.
janisj is online now  
May 17th, 2011, 08:04 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 4
THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH! Your feedback has been wonderful and much appreciated. I have attempted to adjust my itinerary with your comments in mind and have put together a revised version ( Your thoughts are welcomed!
jerseyucf is offline  

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