London only have a day and a half?

Old Aug 1st, 2009, 05:15 AM
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London only have a day and a half?

Again I find the need for member guidance. Airlines snafu finds my family of 3 with a day and a half in London. Never been, where to stay and what can I get done. Physically fit walking not an issue. Wondering if we can do Windsor castle on the half day, Tower of L, Westminster, Changing of the guard and ?? the full day. Flight out departs Heathrow at 7:55 am.
Using points I am looking at various Marriott property but do not know which area provides best tube and/or train options, 3 in the area of Heathrow itself, London Marriott Hotel Twickenham, Kensington, Grosvenor House, Park Lane. Thanks for your insights and views.
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Old Aug 1st, 2009, 06:44 AM
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for such a short stay -- see if your points cover the Marriott County Hall. It is right ON the Thames next to the Eye and most rooms have views of the river/Big Ben.

From there you'd be walking distance to things like Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the whole southbank, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Sq, St James and Green parks, and even Covent Garden/Soho if you don't mind the walking.

I'd skip the Changing of the Guard - just too much time commitment for such a short visit.

You could do Windsor on arrival and then go into London in the evening. The next morning walk across the river to the Westminster tube station and go directly to the Tower of London. Do it first thing before the crowds/lines get huge. Then you'd have 1/2 a day to do whatever you wanted. Westminster Abbey or St Pauls, or one or two of the museums/galleries, or just walk around the center w/i about a mile of your hotel and you could see a lot (Tr Square, Covent Garden, B'ham Palace, Horse Guards, etc)
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Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 09:03 PM
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I second County Hall - and do ask for a room on the river side because you'll know you're not in Kansas anymore every time you look out the window and see the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. Actually, I open the old casement windows on the outside so I can - just barely - hear Big Ben in the room. (There are modern sliding windows on the inside of the 2 ft. thick walls.) The Westminster tube station is just over the bridge - and you will probably want to take the tube to the Tower.

We've stayed at Marble Arch, which I do not recommend at all, and Grovesnor Sq., which was okay but not exciting, and walked by - but not been inspired by the location of - the Park Lane numerous times. Regents Park, Heathrow, and Maida Vale are a bit far out if you can avoid them. (Though your flight is pretty early, so there could be an advantage to staying at Heathrow and just going into London for the entire day; that would give you an extra hour or more the morning of your flight.) But we couldn't get County Hall in May and ended up at the Renaissance Chancery Court, and that would be my second choice in London. If I were going to be at Chancery Court for the first time, I'd probably spend an hour walking past Lincoln Inn Fields to the Inns of the Court, a perfectly wonderful part of London that I didn't "discover" until my 6th London trip in May. (Probably want to Google up a few paragraphs to read before you go so you know generally what it's all about.)

There are so many wonderful things to do in London that you can scarcely go wrong, but I'd recommend the things Janisj does. Just wandering along the south bank from County Hall and crossing the river to get to St. Pauls is delightful. And agree that the Changing of the Guard is too time consuming - and a bit hyped up.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 05:09 AM
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thank you both, I attempted to get a room there yesterday, sold out for the dates I am looking. Only room I could get was Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square. think I'll get to the area janisj and you recommend and go from there. Winsdor in the PM, downtown and follow your ideas for my full day.
Would welcome any further ideas as they occur to you. thanks very much
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Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 08:52 AM
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Hi DoctorT -

With only a day and half, I suggest a ride on the London Eye, a visit to the Tower of London, and a West End show. I would skip Windsor Castle and the changing of the guard.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 10:18 AM
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Grosvenor is a perfectly fine Marriott and is okay as far as ease of getting to the things you might want to do. Know your problem, though, as we ended up with 23 hrs. in Zurich once on the way back from Cairo and had a hard time finding a hotel we could get for points. (Zurich, like London, is one of those places where you'd rather not spend actual money for a hotel.)

I would recheck other Marriotts as you get closer to departure since sometimes things change as time goes by. (Of course, I don't know when you're going, so maybe you're already pretty close to departure.) It's pretty easy to change those bookings now, luckily. In fact, I changed one in Feb. for a May Ireland trip that was booked before the Jan. point increase and by April had reverted to the original plan. Not only did Marriott switch us back to the original booking, they waived the 10,000 point increase.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 10:28 AM
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I would put a stroll along the South Bank Walk near the top of my list - this about 2-mile stroll from the London Eye area to the Tate Modern Gallery (free so you can pop in for a quick look at this old power plant now converted to a rave modern art museum) and then cross the newish pedestrian bridge from the Tate to St Paul's. Shakespeare's Globe theater recreation is here as well in case the Bard interests you.

as you stroll along the South Bank - often mobbed with pedestrians out for a stroll - you see so many landmarks of London, from the Houses of Parliament near the London Eye Ferris Wheel to St Paul's and Tower Bridge - you could easily walk to the tower of London this way as well. this is also a neat walk at night with all the landmarks well lit.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 01:59 PM
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I don't know about any of the other Marriott properties mentioned, though I would think if any of them are close enough to actually have views of the major sites, that would be wonderful. But, we just returned from staying at the Marriott Regents park which is north London. It was a 5 minute walk to Swiss Cottage station which is on the Jubilee line. The Jubilee line was about a 20 minute ride to Westminster station, no change necessary. I thought that was very convenient.

In one day, we accomplished (with London Walks) the Changing of the Guard and Westminster in about a 4 hour period. I thought it was well worth it for time constraints and first time experiences. You don't actually see the official changing of the guard, but you don't wait in any lines (or mobs) either! You will be right up front for the old guard and band as they march down the street towards Buckingham, and then will rush over to the other side to see the new guard and band. Great photo op!
This walk was on a Friday, but you could easily do this on your own with a little planning.
We were done with this by 2ish, had time for lunch in a nearby pub, a visit to the National gallery, 2 hour bus tour, and a concert that evening. I thought it was the PERFECT day. So, yes, you could definetly fit in the changing of the guard, Westminster, and Tower of London in one day.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 02:25 PM
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We stayed at Marriott Marble Arch the first trip..it was just okay.We stayed at the Hilton London Metropole the 2nd again, just okay. (But it was priceline and under $100US both times)

I HIGHLY suggest starting the day on the London Hop On Bus Tour! We just went to London for the 2nd time and the bus was terrific! We saw more in one day than we had in 3 the last time. My suggestion is to ride the main bus tour line when it opens, I think at 9am. We bought tickets at the Marble Arch area, where you board the bus. Take the line with the live guide. Ride the main circle tour....about 2 hours...get a great feel for the city and an overview of just about everything then "Hop Off" at the London Eye. After a breathtaking ride on the "eye" grab lunch and then proceed to
the Tower of London. Next, take the free river cruise included in the "hop-on-off tour", it boards at the dock right next to the Tower of London. After the cruise, perhaps "hop" back on the bus to Picadilly Circus cruise the outdoor shops and pop into Wolseys for "CREAM TEA" at about 4pm. That would be a great snap shot of London and a very full day.
Cheers!
Tina
Call ahead to Wolsey's (sp) for a reservation. Cream tea is only about 8 pounds each and gives you the "experience" of tea time without the big price tag.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 03:07 PM
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The Wolseley.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 03:11 PM
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I second Pal's South Bank stroll recommendation.
You might consider the Fat Tyre bike tour. At 3 ish hrs, you get a good overview, and they pass by the Palace during changing of guard.
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Old Aug 4th, 2009, 11:00 AM
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Thanks stokebailey...I knew it was wrong, but I was saying it with a "british" accent in my head.
Tina
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Old Aug 4th, 2009, 11:14 AM
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Do check back on Marriott County Hall to see if there are any cancellations.
That location would be so perfect for your limited time.
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Old Aug 4th, 2009, 12:22 PM
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One of the first things i'd do is to hop on the London Eye, one of the world's highest Ferris Wheels (though technically it ain't a Ferris wheel to Brits at least) to see the lay of the land - all of London spread out below with orientation info to know what you're seeing. The Ferrish Wheel is right by the County Hall building.
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Old Aug 5th, 2009, 04:36 AM
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Well that's my stamping ground, so here my opinion! First off, Windsor Castle is not in London, it's in Windsor. So if you wanted to go to Windsor, that's a whole day by itself.

Now staying along the Southbank, there are a few things you can do, which are all within relatively easy reach of each other:

1. Westminster Abbey
2. Houses of Parliament (Big Ben)
3. London Eye
4. Boat cruise (London Eye Cruises is good, but only runs up to Tower Bridge; the other company is City Cruises which has lots of boats and a hop-on hop-off service).
5. Tate Modern (fantastic free art gallery)
6. St. Paul's Cathedral (expensive to get in)
7. Shakespeare's Globe
8. Tower of London
9. Tower Bridge (you can go up into the bridge, which is quite fun)

That's quite enough to see for 1 day. You wouldn't have time to go INTO all those places, so I would go into the cheaper/free places (Tate Modern, Tower Bridge) and look outside at the more expensive/time-consuming places (Tower of London, St. Paul's Cathedral). I would recommend getting a full day hop-on hop-off tickets from City Cruises (a Family Rover ticket) and combine that with walking.

Here's a tip for you. If you're organised, you can get most of the attractions cited above for buy-one-get-one-free. I don't know whether you can post links on this site, but here goes... http://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/ and go to 2-for-1 London. The site is quite easy to use. You need to download a form for each attraction and have a valid train ticket for each of your family. However, two points: 1) you can just buy the cheapest ticket from a local train staion (e.g. Waterloo) to anywhere for about £2. This is completely valid for this offer. 2) I've done this a few times with old train tickets with no problem and only one place insisted that everyone in the party show their tickets. This will save you a lot of money if you go somewhere expensive like Tower of London.

The tour buses are great, but I would recommend doing that on the half day - just sitting on the bus and doing one whole circuit. You'll see an awful lot of London - but do be warned tickets are VERY expensive (although daysoutguide do have a slightly reduced price as one of their offers).

The Wolseley is a big favourite of mine and I can't recommend it highly enough. It isn't on the Southbank though, but not tooooo far to walk from Westminster end. I once spent the whole day there - breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yes I did.

Hope this helps.
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Old Aug 5th, 2009, 04:55 AM
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oops - didn't realise there was already many threads on the 2-for-1s!
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...1-vouchers.cfm
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Old Aug 5th, 2009, 05:21 AM
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>>(The Wolesley) I once spent the whole day there - breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yes I did.
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Old Aug 5th, 2009, 07:48 AM
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Why, ah'thank you, Ms Kate!
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Old Aug 5th, 2009, 09:57 AM
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Minnie17: You gave lots of good info -- however the bit about "First off, Windsor Castle is not in London, it's in Windsor. So if you wanted to go to Windsor, that's a whole day by itself." . . If the OP arrives at LHR they'll be only 7 miles from Windsor. They would be 15 mins from the castle by cab or 30 mins by bus. So very easy to do on their 1/2 day.

Also - there really is no realistic way one could get to all those places listed in one day -- especially if they went inside any of them. The tower takes a bare minimum of 2 - 3 hours, St Paul's 45 mins to an hour, Westminster Abbey - min 1 hour, and so forth. The Tower Bridge Experience - yes one can go to the top -- but to get there they will first go through the "Experience" which takes more than 45 mins.

You have laid out a nice itinerary, but for 2 or 3 full days - not one.
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Old Aug 5th, 2009, 11:17 AM
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My London friend took us to breakfast at the Wolesley on my quick transit (day and a half) through London a few years ago. We enjoyed it very much. Buck's fizz, eggs, sausages, and a cute waiter.
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