london itinery help

Dec 31st, 2013, 03:20 AM
  #1  
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london itinery help

Hi

I am trying to sort out an itinery based on what we would like to do during our brief visit to London in June. Can you please see if this is possible?

Fly into London saturday morning from Australia. Go for a walk around south bank and visit london eye, london bridge experience, and tower bridge exhibition. See millennium bridge

Sunday morning - london walks west end and westminster walking tour. In afternoon see kensington palace and kensington gardens

Monday - kids would like to go to warner bros harry potter tour.

Tuesday - Tower of London, St Paul's cathedral

Wednesday - train to Paris.

Would like to also do a tour of westminster abbey but no idea where we can fit that unless we do it on wednesday morning and then get afternoon train to paris.

Not sure how realistic this is so advice/help would be great.
Thanks
emmamarie is offline  
Dec 31st, 2013, 04:52 AM
  #2  
 
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I would reshape your arrival day. I haven't been to the London Bridge thing, but I have heard only negatives. I've done the Tower Bridge exhibit after the Tower--that makes geographic sense. It is ok, and if the weather is good has nice views and had some kids stuff, but I thought was overpriced (we had 2 for 1 voucher so didn't mind). You will be right at the Millennium Bridge when you go to St. Paul's, so no need to fit that in on day of arrival.

So....if you did Westminster Abbey day one, you'd be near the Eye, too, so you could "do" that whole area, providing you have time, which, if you get settled in by noon, you will.

So---

Day 1--Eye and Westminster Abbey and walk around both banks around Westminster Bridge, as well as around your rooms (maybe you are near a park?)

Day 2--I wouldn't do any of those things necessarily (don't do "walks") but if that's what you want and those things work on a Sunday, then ok.

Day 3--OK

Day 4--Be at the Tower at opening, then maybe go to the Tower Exhibit, then walk along the South Bank to Millennium Bridge and across to St. Paul's. This would be a long day (Tower at least 3 hours, exhibit and such about an hour?, walk to St. Paul's maybe an hour with stops and pics, then St. Paul's). If the day is nice, and you can work it in, consider a climb to the top of the dome.

My three favorite things for first timers (and maybe for kids if they aren't real young and care about history/lit at all) are the Tower, Westminster Abbey, and the British Museum. So you are fitting in 2 of those and still having some other stuff. (I would NOT suggest a museum on the first day--the Abbey's audio or verger tour keeps you moving and I'd spend most of the rest of the day walking and moving). And June's light will be really late, so you can do parks and walking around and some shopping and such after supper, too. I finally rode the Eye on my 5th trip to London in June and at dusk it was lovely.

Definitely definitely group your destinations by neighborhood and factor in the hugeness of London and the time it takes to move between sites. Google maps has buttons for walking and public transport. Using these can give you a ballpark estimate.

Have a great time!!
texasbookworm is offline  
Dec 31st, 2013, 05:27 AM
  #3  
 
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Agree this sounds a much better use of time.

Unless you are civil engineers I think you are focusing way too much on those bridges - which are IMHO fairly boring. (One bridge with a view up and down the river fine - more is just too much. And not sure if you need even one if you are doing the eye.)

Tower and Westmnster Abby are much more intresting - as in the British Museum or even the Museum of London (with interactive exhibits).

Depend partly on interests. You don;t say age of kids - but my little B loved the Egyptian dep't of the Met since he was about 5 - wanted his own mummy and always was trying to get into the sarcophagi - also loved arms & armor. Brit Museum has bunch of similar antiquities - great for kids with any interest in them from movies to TV series about ancient times and culture - whether mid eastern or viking.
nytraveler is offline  
Dec 31st, 2013, 06:43 AM
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Fly into London saturday morning from Australia. Go for a walk around south bank and visit london eye, london bridge experience, and tower bridge exhibition. See millennium bridge.

What's the London Bridge Experience? Sounds stupid considering that (1) the original London Bridge is in Arizona (go look it up), (2) the current London Bridge is a dull arch bridge with minimal adornment (compare to say, Battersea Bridge or Westminster Bridge).

You should do whatever Tower Bridge touring the day you go to the Tower.

You can also see the Millenium Bridge after you visit St Paul's.

Be flexible with the Eye - planning for good weather in London is like planning for rain in the Alice.

Sunday morning - london walks west end and westminster walking tour. In afternoon see kensington palace and kensington gardens

If you're interested in Westminster Abbey, this is the day to do it and skip the walk. You can also go to the Cabinet War Rooms.

Monday - kids would like to go to warner bros harry potter tour.

Of course they would. How long is it? There's surely enough left in the day to do something interesting.

Tuesday - Tower of London, St Paul's cathedral

You need to get a paper travelcard for you and the hubby for this day and get the 2for1 admission voucher from www.daysoutguide.co.uk for the Tower because a one-day travelcard will cost about 7 quid and you'll save nearly 22 on the Tower admission. You may also want to do this for the Kensington Palace day because that's probably on offer from the same website and Kens Palace is about 16 quid.
BigRuss is offline  
Dec 31st, 2013, 08:37 AM
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>>London bridge experience, and tower bridge exhibition<<

OK - to be blunt . . . you have VERY little time in London - one of the most fantastic cities anywhere . . . and you want to spend a big part of your visit in two rather silly tourist attractions. If you had two weeks in the City - maybe - but for this short visit a TOTAL waste IMHO

Basically the only BIG deal sites you are visiting are the Tower and St Paul's(and Kensington Palace which is nice but is much farther down most folks 'must' list)

On Monday - the Harry Potter experience (which MUST be pre-booked well ahead) won't take all day. If you book in the morning you can be back in London by mid-afternoon so you can fit in something else.

BigRuss has misled you just a bit - can't 'do' Westminster Abbey on a Sunday - it is a church after all and is only open for services. So you can attend, but not visit/tour.

Basically - I'd be back at the drawing board redoing the whole plan.
janisj is online now  
Dec 31st, 2013, 12:54 PM
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Pah. Honked on that one - do the Abbey on Monday.
BigRuss is offline  
Dec 31st, 2013, 01:58 PM
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Monday - kids would like to go to warner bros harry potter tour.

Of course they would. How long is it? There's surely enough left in the day to do something interesting.>

Is this the same thing as the 2-hour Harry Potter Walks that you can get 2 for 1 entry for with a paper Travel Card or a paper national rail ticket?
PalenQ is online now  
Dec 31st, 2013, 02:51 PM
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>>Is this the same thing as the 2-hour Harry Potter Walks<<

No - it isn't
janisj is online now  
Dec 31st, 2013, 03:06 PM
  #9  
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Hello everyone and thanks for your advice. I have 2 daughters aged 11 and 8.

I agree that we don't have a lot of time but unfortunately i can't really change that.

Taking in all of your advice I have changed the itinery to the following:

Saturday arrive - Visit Westminster Abbey and london eye depending on weather

Sunday - was considering the london walks tour for a good orientation and look at the 'well known sights' i.e. Big Ben, Parliament house, Bckingham Palace etc. Afternoon at Kensington Park and visit kensington palace

Monday - Warner Bros studio in morning. ?British museum or science museum in afternoon

Tuesday - Tower of London in morning, walk along south bank to Millennium Bridge and then visit St Paul's cathedral.

Does this make more sense?
thanks again
emmamarie is offline  
Dec 31st, 2013, 03:14 PM
  #10  
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Hi again, for what we want to do should we consider a london pass or pay as we go?
thanks
emmamarie is offline  
Dec 31st, 2013, 03:14 PM
  #11  
 
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Looks doable - play Saturday by ear -- both because of jet lag/exhaustion, and weather (for the Eye)

Is Kensington Palace one of you 'musts'? Nothing at all wrong w/ it -- but it can weirdly be both underwhelming - and too much (that is if you follow the audio guide -- it is very detailed and semi-boring)
janisj is online now  
Dec 31st, 2013, 03:21 PM
  #12  
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Perhaps we can just see the palace from the outside? Just thought it would be nice to get to walk through a palace. Any other suggestions? Also, suggestions on where to base ourselves in london would be great.
thanks
emmamarie is offline  
Dec 31st, 2013, 03:34 PM
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I won't go into much detail here, as the details are legion and it's New Year's Eve--But short answer--

DO NOT GET a London Pass.

There is something else entirely called the Oyster Card.
It's plastic. It "holds" credit for travel. It's for travel in London.

There are paper travel cards also.

You will need one of these types for your city transport.

Do NOT pursue the London Pass.
texasbookworm is offline  
Dec 31st, 2013, 03:38 PM
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If you want a palace -- then Hampton Court Palace is what you are looking for. And kids LOVE it because the Medieval Kitchens, the maze, the costumed historical characters. But HCP takes at least half a day - you have to take the train from Central London and the palace takes at least 3 hour to explore. So you could go to HCP in the morning and be back in central London by about 2:30PM.

>>Also, suggestions on where to base ourselves in london would be great.<<

Anywhere in central London works -- public transport is everywhere. What is your budget? Since there are 4 of you you will need a family room (London hotels don't normally sleep 4 like many in the States do). Or you can rent an apartment.
janisj is online now  
Dec 31st, 2013, 04:06 PM
  #15  
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If you had to choose between hampton court palace and versailles - what would you choose? I have allocated a day whist in paris to go to versailles. If we don't do this then we have an extra day in london - not sure what to do.
emmamarie is offline  
Dec 31st, 2013, 05:40 PM
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IMHO wile Versailles is absolutely gorgeous Hampton Court is much more interesting, not only for kids but also for adults. Do a little research on the Tudors if you didn't see the fairly recent TV series on them - they spent a ton of time at Hampton Court and it portrays life at that time in extraordinary detail.
nytraveler is offline  
Dec 31st, 2013, 05:54 PM
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I agree w/ nyt. Hampton Court Palace would be my choice (and I've been to both multiple times)

Especially for kids.
janisj is online now  
Jan 1st, 2014, 02:37 AM
  #18  
 
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Definitely Hampton Court Palace over Versailles with kids!

Be sure you book the Harry Potter studio tour in advance, you cant buy tickets at the door:

http://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/

And dont forget to include transit time as its a journey to get too - probably 1+ hours each way.

For Hampton Court Palace you will need about 1/2 day+ as well including transit.
jamikins is offline  
Jan 1st, 2014, 02:48 AM
  #19  
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Thanks so much for all of your advice! In terms of where to stay in London I was thinking somewhere near westminster tube to get to everything but am open to suggestions. Would it be worthwhile getting an apartment rather than a hotel?
emmamarie is offline  
Jan 1st, 2014, 06:06 AM
  #20  
 
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Hi Emmamarie, your itinerary looks good now!
London is a large city, you are never going to be close to everything, but being near the Piccadilly Line is handy. Near South Kensington Station is good, since there are also plenty of restaurants.
Westminster is close to some sites, but not as nice in the evening (perfectly ok, but quiter in the evening).

What is your budget for a hotel? With 2 kids it's usually better value to get a flat, as you'll have more space. Bedrooms for 4 are not so easy to find, and you may need 2 hotel rooms.
Tulips is offline  

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