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London sights in 2 days with some disabilities

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May 28th, 2011, 06:32 PM
  #1
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London sights in 2 days with some disabilities

My disabled son and I (a Sr. citizen with bad knees) will be sightseeing in London on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 28th and 29th. We'll be staying at the South end of the Tower Bridge, near the Bermondsley tube, although I hope to uses buses, rather than the tube (due to the stairs). Our flight to the next country leaves Heathrow around 4 PM on the 30th, so I'm thinking there will only be the opportunity to do limited sightseeing that day.

I'm hoping for some guidance regarding a logical sequence to do the following things, please. Also, anything else that might fit nicely into the schedule, without being too tiring.

The places we want to see most are:
- hop on/hop off bus tour of the sights
- changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace (I read that the 8:30 hop bus works for this)
- Brass Rubbings and midday concert at St. Martins-in-the Field (Tuesday)
- British Museum
- Thames River Boat Cruise

We had planned on a late entry to Mdme. Tussaud's, but the discounted tickets are sold out and the reviews are so-so, so that is no longer on our "must do" list.

Also, is it wisest not to book the hop buses yet, in case of rain? Any other suggestions? This will be our first trip abroad and we are really looking forward to it. Thanks in advance.
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May 28th, 2011, 06:42 PM
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Hi oregonmiss,
The changing of the guard is a MOB SCENE. I am quite sure there was no one left in all of London the day we attended it. We got there over an hour early and there were already thousands of people there. You couldn't even get close to the fence so we took up a spot on the monument/fountain directly in front. Only about 10,000 people on that! For you and your son's comfort just know that there is no sitting available.

If you just want to see the pomp and circumstance then maybe you can get there closer to show time and just line the streets surrounding the fountain as the horses come up both of these and it is actually quite nice to watch and not as many people to contend with.

Have a great trip.
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May 28th, 2011, 06:47 PM
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Mme Tussaud's is a complete waste of time for adults IMHO.

Do not prebook any HOHO bus in case of bad weather.

Instead I would consider The Tower of London - look into options for people with problems walking and Westminster Abbey - ad MUCH more interesting and worthwhile.
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May 29th, 2011, 05:48 AM
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You can use the regular service buses to get to most sights
but the hop-on hop-off services with commentary may suit you better. You certainly don't need to book in advance - they seem to have people trying to sell tickets at practically every stop - and I think at least one of them has a river boat trip as part of the package.

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloa...-route-map.pdf

Buses from where you're staying:

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/gettingaro...ondon-2261.pdf

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/...lity/1167.aspx
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May 29th, 2011, 09:11 AM
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I agree that the changing of the guards is a mob scene and IMO not worth the effort and overrated. But if you must, get there very early. A better option would be the changing of the guard at Horse Guards ( North of Downing Street near Whitehall).

You could combine a visit to the Tower with the Thames cruise to Westminster where St. Martin's is nearby at Trafalgar Square or visit Westminster Abbey. The British Museum is a bit further. Sorry I can't help with bus routes. Patrick's websites should help.

Not usually a fan of HOHO, but I think you may find it a good option for getting a general overview of London without too much hassle. Also note that many sites give concessions to the disabled and if in a wheelchair a free admission to the one managing the chair. Another site which might prove helpful is www.walkit.com which gives walking times and maps.
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May 29th, 2011, 09:21 AM
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Seeing the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace is something almost everyone wants to include on their first visit to London.
I did, too. But once was enough to convince me to never do it again.
As mentioned up thread, it is a total mob scene and the chance of getting near enough to the fence to actually see anything at all is remote.
And if you do manage to get near the fence you will be pressed in and jostled by a sea of humanity on on all sides. Then after the ceremony you'll have to wade through the sea of humanity in order to get back to the hop-on-bus pick up location.
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May 29th, 2011, 10:49 AM
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Terrific advice and the web links were a wonderful help. Thank you! Any suggested sequence of events? I think Westminister Abbey, including their Tuesday Evensong would be our preference, over the Tower of London, although we could try to do both, if time and energy permit. Any more suggestions, regarding the sequence of our stops? I really want to see the changing of the guard, but the changing of the horse guards may need to do, due to the large crowds you all referred to.
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May 29th, 2011, 11:31 AM
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I just watched a WONDERFUL video of the guards marching on Bird Cage Walk at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tr4wbwfXNzs. Does anyone know if this is typical of the daily changing of the guards, and any idea of what time and where (specifically) we should be there to view it? Or, would Wellington Barracks be a better place to view them; if so, what time? Thanks again.
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May 29th, 2011, 11:41 AM
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One problem w/the H-o-H-o buses -- the good views are in the open-top upstairs and the semi-spiral staircase to the top deck may not be accessible to you.

Downstairs you are looking through sometimes fogged up/sometimes grimey windows and you can really only see well out one side of the coach.

If it can fit in the budget -- this will be more expensive but would be easier for you, and more fun. Ray Skinner is w/ London Transfers which is a very well known/well regarded car service. He also does bespoke tours. It would be just you and your son and he would tailor the tour to your needs. He is a great guy and I'm sure he'd work w/ you to plan the perfect day (or two half days, or whatever you wanted)

http://www.london-transfers.com/
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May 29th, 2011, 11:47 AM
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Another NOT fan of the HOHO buses. I prefer taking the city bus #11 which goes to about all the same places. A tour with Mr Skiinner would be even easier and probably not much more than the HOHOS. I actually like the changing of the gUARD AT hORSEGUARDS BETTER. aND THEY HAVE A VERY NICE SMALL MUSEUM ON THE GROUNDS/ Sorry about the cap lock, new computer and the shift key is on a differnt place than my oldone!
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May 29th, 2011, 11:51 AM
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OH - and IF you wanted to try to squeeze in the Guard Change -- Ray could probably time things to get you there at the right time. There is a great place to stand if you arrive after the hordes and don't want to hang around or 2-3 hours of just 'hangin around'. Everyone wants to be in front of the Palace or around the Wedding Cake. But just off to the side on Spur Road you can usually get a good/unobstructed view of them leaving the Palace.

But really w/ two folks w/ mobility issues --I'd skip it.

That video was filmed during the rehearsal for the Trooping of the Colour in early June.
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May 29th, 2011, 12:10 PM
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Hadn't thought of Ray but he'd be an excellent guide for London.
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May 29th, 2011, 01:02 PM
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I meant to say, Bermondsey tube station is quite a way away from Tower Bridge - do you have a more precise indication of where it is? If it is just south of Tower Bridge (the Premier Inn on the corner of Tanner St?), the Tower is only a couple of stops on a direct bus route.

I'd suggest going to the Tower first thing in the day. It has the Crown Jewels and was in a sense the heart and head of London for so long that many people would put it top of the list of things to see. But it's all a matter of what interests you.
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May 29th, 2011, 01:45 PM
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Our rented room is on Gillison Walk; about 1/2 block from the Bermondsey station. I was told that buses depart from there 24 hours a day. However, the man who rented it hasn't been very responsive to my emails about a check-in time, so I am feeling a bit apprehensive at this point about our reservation possibly falling through.
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May 29th, 2011, 01:47 PM
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Thank you! I have sent an email to Ray. I think our budget would make buses better for the sightseeing days, but he sounds like an excellent means of getting to and from the train/airport and our lodging.
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May 29th, 2011, 01:52 PM
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Janisj said the video was of a rehersal for the Trooping of the Colors. If we wanted to avoid the Buckingham Palace mob, would we still see the guards, in their red and black uniforms, marching along Bird Cage Walk, or should we stand elsewhere near Wellington Barracks. Do they still play their instruments while on that portion of the route? And, what time should we arrive at Bird Cage Walk to see it all? Thanks again.
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May 29th, 2011, 02:35 PM
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Hmm. That is indeed right on top of Bermondsey tube, i.e., a bit further east than Tower Bridge. There's nothing wrong with the neighbourhood in itself - rapidly developing with new apartments: but it's not that conveniently placed for tourist purposes. These are the buses for the area:

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/gettingaro...road-14559.pdf
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Jun 2nd, 2011, 08:59 AM
  #18
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PatrikLondon, thank you! I'm still waiting to hear back from the man who rented us the room. Heaven help us if that falls through! The bus route link is great! Wish I had your knowledge of the area; it sounds as if you could be a tour guide.
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