London questions

May 19th, 2003, 06:50 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 89
London questions

Hi!! My husband and I will be traveling to Scotland in late June (for 10 days) and then on to London so he can take a college class for the month of July. I have been reading all the messages and have found the information useful. However I have a few questions.
Where is the best spot to stand to see the changing of the guard? (I know it is touristy, but I really would like to see it and film it for my mom).
What do people really wear in July in London? (I know from another post that asking questions about clothing shouldn't be important, but I really would like to know what to pack)
Also, any other information a female doing most of her traveling and sightseeing in London alone should know.

Thanks in advance for all of your help.

jenstu13 is offline  
May 19th, 2003, 07:06 AM
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Can't help on changing of the guard. People wear what you would wear in any major city in the world-pants, skirts, dresses-not shorts (IMO). As weather can be changeable, take layers. A sweater & a light raincoat or rain jacket & an umbrella. Comfortable shoes.

As to sightseeing, I prefer buses because you get to see more than in the tube. Use the tube for longer trips. Watch your handbag as you would in any city. As has been posted hundreds of times, the hop on hop off bus is a great way to get an overview of the city. Have a wonderful time.
mclaurie is offline  
May 19th, 2003, 08:03 AM
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Unless you're planning to attend a formal event, there are two rules for dressing in London, in July or at any other time of the year:

1. Wear what you're comfortable in, given the weather on the day. Only tourists believe there is any kind of dress code in the world's most cosmopolitan and tolerant city. Nothing - except a bowler hat or a "My mother went to...." t-shirt looks odd in London. Seriously. Nothing. Shorts are just fine, as long as the weather is.
2. No-one knows what the weather's going to be like - except that it's likely to be wet at some point in any 5-day period, and unlikely to be very hot or cold. But if it does get hot in July - and it can - London just isn't built for hot weather.
flanneruk is offline  
May 19th, 2003, 08:14 AM
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I've made various trips to London with my husband, with other family members, and by myself.
I have been to London in Spring , Summer, and Autumn.
The two times I was there in July the weather was unusually warm... hot in fact. The Tubes can get extremely stuffy in Summer.
There are advantages to sightseeing alone there are so many things to see and one can spend as much time as one wants dawdling at a favorite location.
You will find London easy to explore by public transportation and by foot.
Find out what zone your London hotel or flat is in and then check for fare prices for weekly ( or a monthly) travelcards. Many of the most popular sights are in Zone 1.
Many of the larger museums have no entrance fee and are so full of exhibits that you'll want to return to see more.
The Victoria and Albert, Museum of London, British Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery are among my favorite large museums.
There are almost too many smaller museums to mention...browse some guide books to see what appeals to you.
When I am in London on my own, I like to take some of the guided walks . There are also guided day trips. You'll find info at
You can window shop ( or shop for real !)
You can also take advantage of strolling in London's Parks, go to the free lunchtime concerts that are held in churches, go to the various markets ( such as the Sunday morning Columbia Road flower market ).
And then there is the variety of live theater...take in a few matinees.
starspinners is online now  
May 19th, 2003, 08:23 AM
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The best place to see "a" changing of the guard is at Horseguards Palace, between Parliamanet Square and Trafalgar Square. More interesting and intimate than at Buckingham Palace.

For watching "the" changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, you'll probably just have to find any spot that's available.

I don't have times at hand, but an internet search sould easily provide you withthat info.
drsawyers is offline  
May 19th, 2003, 08:33 AM
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In Order to get a clear view to video the changing of the guard you will need to be there at least an hour ahead of time. The best places are right on the fence next to either gate, or on the top steps of the wedding Cake (Victoria Memorial).

But both of those areas fill up first. Anywhere else and you will have a very obstructed view.

As for clothing - plan for anything except freezing and 100F. It could rain, shower, be totally clear, or all three each day. And warm in London will feel HOT.

So even in summer, layering is the way to go. You will not need a coat - but will probably need a jacket or sweater, and a pashmina or shawl comes in very handy - they take up very little space and will be warm enough most nights.

Jeans are OK - but I avoid them because they are hot, take up too much luggage space and would not dry in 3 days if you had to wash them. I take a couple of pairs of slacks - one casual and one dark colored that can serve as dressy or casual, plus a non-wrinkle skirt A broomstick, or my favorite a sort of crepe reversible one. Sarah Arizona is a designer I get at Nordstroms that make the most amazing reversible floaty skirts that are perfect for traveling. Two different fabrics but in the same colors. You have two skirts in the space of one and that really expands your wardrobe. A pair of black pants and this skits plus three tops would give you nine distinct outfits.
janis is offline  
May 21st, 2003, 09:25 AM
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Thanks for all the help. Can't wait to spend my month in London. My husband will be able to go to many of the museum during the late openings. Are those very crowded?
jenstu13 is offline  
May 21st, 2003, 09:39 AM
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Actually - I find most of the time the late openings are not crowded at all. Occassionally there will be a mob but that is unusual.
janis is offline  
May 21st, 2003, 10:08 AM
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Be careful with those late openings. The British Museum, at least, doesn't keep ALL the galleries open during the extended hours, and even during regular hours some galleries aren't open the whole time, so plan your itinerary accordingly. Details are posted on their web site.
Anonymous is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 05:25 AM
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It has been a long time since anyone has been allowed to stand on the Victoria Memorial, unless the rules have recently been relaxed. At one time people were allowed to climb up on it but now not allowed. However, it has been a couple of years since I was at a changing so perhaps it is allowed once again? Anyone been there in last few weeks that can verify?
Curt is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 06:04 AM
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No - they can't go up on the memorial - but thay can go on the steps. And have been again (I think) ever since the circle in front of the Palace was closed to traffic.

janis is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 06:07 AM
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BTW - I am not actually recommending the Changing of the Guard. It is just that jenstu wants to video it for her mom. If so they need to be up on the steps or right at the fence (the steps are better)
janis is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 07:58 AM
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Thanks Janis. and the others.
We really can't wait to go on our trip.
Planning to go to Hampton Court by myself, plus the museums. With hubby will go to Normandy with his class(and a quick one night stay in Paris). Before reaching London driving for 10 days in Scotland. I've read all the helpful hints about driving in the UK on this messageboard. Also visiting his friend in Bonn. Any info about that city?
jenstu13 is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 03:16 PM
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Hi jenstu13,

My recommendation for taping the changing of the guard is standing along the curb in front of the palace but toward the left side of it. The guards will come up that street toward you and you'll have a close up as they approach.

You can get there just a few minutes before. Everyone will be trying to stand dead center in front of the palace gates and will ignore the perimeter.

I could have reached out and touched the guards as they passed.


adrienne is offline  

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