London Trip Schedule- ???

May 16th, 2006, 07:30 PM
  #1  
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London Trip Schedule- ???

I have put together a first draft of our 1st time visit to england and would like feedback.
We are a family of 4 2 adults 11 year old boy and a 14 year old daughter

August 16 arrive London from US @9:30
August 17- London
August 18 - London
August 19 - Astral Tours- Leeds,Canterbury,Dover
August 20-premium Tours -Stonehenge and Bath
August 21- london
August 22- Windsor and Buckingham Palace
August 23-24-25 Astral Tour -Oxford,Stratford-upon-Avon,Warwick Castle,Cotswolds
August 26- Bletchley Park
August 27-Greenwich
August 28- London
August 29- Train to paris


Please give me your feedback

As for evening plans, We want to go to Evita,Mary Poppins,Mousetrap,The Ceremony of the Keys,Globe Theater,Med Banquet,Dinner Crise and a Jack the Ripper Tour

Are there day trips that can be combined?

Is there any thing that I should take out?

Thanks for all of your help.

Melissa
MelissaBeckoff is offline  
May 16th, 2006, 08:02 PM
  #2  
jgg
 
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We just went to London in March with our kids who are about the same ages. Here is a link to my trip report which you may find helpful: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34786762.

My first suggestion, is that you might have a few too many daytrips outside of London. You are spending almost two weeks there, but have really only devoted 4 days to exploring London. Which ones to cut? You will have to prioritize based on what most family members are interested in.

We did a daytrip with Astral to Oxford, Stratford-Upon Avon and Warwick, and really enjoyed it. Spending 3 days doing that should be even better.

Buckingham Palace is not near Windsor but is in London, and can easily be seen on another day.

We saw Mary Poppins and absolutely loved it! I think your options for evenings sound great. However, we found after busy days of siteseeing we were often tired, and glad we didn't have too many nights planned with big events.

If you have an interest in WWII history (i.e. Bletchley Park) be sure and go to the Imperial War Museum. We spent a lot of time there, and really found it fascinating.

I guess, overall, I was surprised at how much time we took exploring everything. We never got through everything I had wanted to each day and was so thankful that I had an unplanned day at the end to catch up on the things we had missed.

jgg is offline  
May 16th, 2006, 11:21 PM
  #3  
 
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Windsor & Buckingham Palace on the same day?

Em Buckingham Palace is in the centre of London whereas Windsor is 30 miles west of London (ie further west than Heathrow)

As for taking a day tour for Stonehenge & Bath, well you'd do it better doing it by yourself.

I'll give my standard advice, take the train to Salisbury (which is worth it anyway), then local bus to Stonehenge & Avebury then onto Bath by train, stay overnight & return the next day.

http://www.wdbus.co.uk/htm/ta/sdo-stonehenge.asp

Not sure if Bletchley Park is worth a day trip even though it does tell the truth about the Enigma machines rather than any Hollywood airbrushing of history

BTW Greenwich is part of London so that's 5 days plus whatever you do on the 1st & last day

Oh, and it's "Leeds Castle", not Leeds which is a large city 200 miles from London

finally forget the dinner cruise unless you are into rubber chicken, take a boast from Westminster to Greenwich instead returning via the Docklands Light Railway from Island Gardens which is on the other side of the river from Greenwich by a pedestrian tunnel but which has excellent views of Greenwich
alanRow is offline  
May 17th, 2006, 03:36 AM
  #4  
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The Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palce is a tour by Premium Tours.It is a behind the scenes tour of Windsor Castle with a exclusive tour of the Royal Kitchens.
Is this worth the time?

Also, we are taking a tour to Stonehenge and bath becasue it is at sunset and you can get right up to the stones.
Melissa
Melissa
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May 17th, 2006, 03:56 AM
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I would second the questioning of Bletchley Park. Unless itís a particular interest of yours, there are better WWII sites Ė try Churchillís Cabinet war Rooms or the Imperial War museum

Youíve also picked a couple of things that I would call tourist traps, Jack The Ripper and the Mousetrap.

The Jack the Ripper walk is the most over-rated thing that American tourists do IMHO. There is nothing of the original area left thanks to the Luftwaffe and our planners. They also get VERY busy Ė and after all you are glorifying the life of a sexual sadist woman hater. But each to their own and all that.

Also the mousetrap is rubbish. There are SO many better things on the London stage (if you email me off list Iíll tell you whodunit thereby saving you the bother).

All this is just my opinion of course.
david_west is offline  
May 17th, 2006, 04:08 AM
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Hi Melissa. The 28th August is possibly a public (bank) holiday in the UK. You may want to check out what effect it has on your plans.

The kids should enjoy Warwick Castle.

Another place to check out in London is the London Museum. They have a lot of Family and Children's events and activities and it's free admission.
http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/English/
speckles is offline  
May 17th, 2006, 04:17 AM
  #7  
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Regarding the 28th, I had figured that we would spend the time in london.

would We be better off going to hampton court that day?

melissa
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May 17th, 2006, 04:20 AM
  #8  
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why are you against mouse trap?
what else would you suggest to see besides mary poppins and evita?

melissa
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May 17th, 2006, 04:57 AM
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Melissa- I have to agree with Davidwest about the jack the ripper tour. I went because the other couple we were traveling with wanted to. It was ok at best if one likes standing in parking lots pointing to "buildings" that are no longer there. The tour also ends in the Bangeleshi neighborhood with no other directions. I had spent days and days pouring over maps and transportation systems so it was no big toot but the other couple would have FREAKED out if they had been alone. I am not sure why you would want your 11 year boy to hear about slaughtering women but to each their own. Now, the kids will love Warwick Castle. I would guess that will be one of the highlights of their trip. It is a lot of fun for every age. Bath is really cool we liked it a lot. I would also suggest going to Sally Lunn's for a snack. It is a tiny tea room, nearly around the corner from the baths, that you will have to squeeze into but they have a cool demonstration in the basement of the old kitchens and the various levels of street since time began. If you are not into history this may not interest you but we thought it was a highlight for us. Why go to Stonehenge? You are going to be in the cotswold, see if that tour includes the little stones- can't think of the name of it right now. Are you arriving 9:30 am or pm? If it is am you have to stay up and moving until at least 6pm or you will be waking up at MN every night. My suggestion is hop on a bus, although I hear the double deckers are gone, ( I hate that), and tour the city. You can get a birdseye view of everything and if you have done your homework, you will recognize all the places you want to go and it will help orient you. I can't think of the bus # which goes down to the Thames and back up past Tralfagar etc but I am sure a local will tell you. You also you will catch the boat to Greenwich at the dock you will see to your left when you are looking at big ben. It is a simple, pleasant ride up the river and stroll around Greenwich. The walk up to the mean time thing is a little vigorous on a hot day but there are flea markets to compensate. You can take the underground back. speaking of the underground, I bet the kids will get a kick out of planning how to get to different places- take the red line jump off at ___to the green line, go to-It is a lot of fun. Of course, they will need a mind the gap Tshirt. Lastly, I also second the Churchill's cabinet war rooms. We thought it was very moving and it is right next door to the horseguard's changing of the guard. OK- enough! Have you considered an apartment for a week then wandering for the next week? I can not comment on the kitchen tour but in general I think you have way to much planned for comfort. One of the most pleasant mornings we spent at an umbrella shop taking with the umbrella salespersons and getting folding lessons. Plan time to browse Harrod's food court, go to a grocery store, walk in the parks, and look at the people. lynclarke
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May 17th, 2006, 05:16 AM
  #10  
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First of all, I am not taking my son or my daughter on the jack the ripper tour.
I agree that it is not for children.
I am taking Bletchley Park out of the schedule.

Now I have 9 days in London;including Windsor Castle;Buckingham Palace;Greenwich and Hampton Court.I think that my time is evenly split between London and out of London.

Regarding the British Museum, since we go to the museums in NYC quite often, is there any reason to go there?
Melissa
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May 17th, 2006, 05:25 AM
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Personally I think you are doing way too much and the kids will get tired and cranky but I guess that is a personal decision and you know your kids. London is just so great to walk around, the walks along the Thames wonderful. I would second the view to go by boat to Greenwich and not to do a dinner cruise. What about the London Eye? Disagree with JTR walk - although I did it in April so was less busy - loved it and saw parts of London I had never seen before - and we (2 females) were not the least bit worried about where the tour ended. Going out every night after busy days - I wouldn't enjoy that but again personal - would be tempted to drop a couple.
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May 17th, 2006, 05:31 AM
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I havenít got anything against the Mousetrap per se, other than itís about the worst thing on in the west End (which is quite an achievement).

However you have to remember that the only reason that anyone sees it is because itís been running so long Ė over 50 years. So basically itís a 50 year old Agatha Christie play, played out to tourists who have heard about it and think itís something special. I DONíT KNOW ANYONE WHOíS SEEM

If you only have two weeks in one of the worldís leading theatre cities do you really want to spend your time watching what is in effect a repertory production of a 50 year old play, with a bunch of Japanese tourists? (The mousetrap is theatrical crack for the Japanese).

There really are so many better things on at any time than this.

Iíll give you a clue Ė it wasnít the butler that did it.

The British museum knocks any American museum into a cocked hat (the advantages of a rapacious empire you see). Only the Louvre really compares.

Iíve answered the Jack the Ripper query in the thread you started about it.
david_west is offline  
May 17th, 2006, 05:58 AM
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You are spending a huge amount on organized tours. Most of those places are easy to do on your own for a fraction of the money.

Except for (maybe) the Astral inner access Stonehenge tour and the Cotswold tour, I'd definitely rethink the others.

Does that tour "visit" Buckingham Palace or just "see" it? If the latter it is a 5 min. walk-by. Nothing much to see besides the side of the bldg and the "wedding cake" Victoria memorial out front.

If you want to visit the Palace you can get your own tix ahead of time. They will be for a specific day and time.

The British Museum is an absolute must if one is into museums at all.

I totally agree re the Mousetrap. it really isn't a "play" anymore. It is really just another tourist attraction. Not just for Americans though, lots of coach parties of OAPs (Brit senior citizens) too.

The JtR walks are one of the biggest jokes pulled on us American visitors. Basically NONE of the sites exist. So if you'd enjoy looking at a modern warehose and hearing "on this corner once stood the . . ." Then moving to a car park and hearing the same thing, all in the company of 150 to 200 others walking through a neighborhood where the residents REALLY resent the noisy tour groups - then hey, go for it. And in August the group WILL be huge.

If it were me and had a child along - I'd spend less time (and money) on organized tours and more time enjoying London. Except for Warwick there isn't much on that list kids would enjoy. Don't get me wrong - there is lots of interest for children at Dover, etc - but on a group tour you will be rushed through everything and most kids would hate it.
janisj is online now  
May 17th, 2006, 08:30 AM
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I'm sorry you've dropped Bletchley Park, we are going in September and I was looking forward to your review of it.

We will be visiting Bletchley on our way to Suffolk (also seeing Hatfield Palace and Shaw's Corner in the area). We've already been to Imperial War Museum and Cabinet War Rooms, and agree with other posters that they are very worthwhile. I think there is/going to be a special exhibit at the war museum about children during war. And there's lots of interactive things kids can participate in. The Museum of London is also very kid-friendly.

I'm another one who wasn't taken with the Jack the Ripper walk. We had too many people in our group (we were there in April) and it suddenly hit us mid-way that we were somehow glorifying something awful. We dropped out shortly afterwards.

We have really enjoyed the British Museum but it would probably take a week to do it justice. If you decide to go, why not check out their website and plan your route to appeal to your children.

And lump me in with Japanese tourists and old Brits, but I enjoyed The Mousetrap. I'm a devotee of Agatha Christie mysteries (they were the first ones I read at 9), and I thought the play was a hoot. (The first time I saw it Koo Stark was playing the ingenue!) I've taken my husband, my mother and my sister-in-law to see it on different trips, and they all enjoyed it. Perhaps, I'm a whodunnit sadist - but I guess if you're going to be a philistine, enjoying The Mousetrap is not that earth-shattering.

I hope you have a wonderful trip, and will look forward to your trip report.

rickmav is offline  
May 17th, 2006, 08:50 AM
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I agee with others. You seem to have a lot of things planned. The British Museum is worth it. I'd chose Mary Poppins for your play. Your kids will love it. As far as Churchill's War Room, my husband and I loved it....just don't know if your children would find it interesting or not. As others have said, you know your children, so plan accordingly.
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May 17th, 2006, 09:07 AM
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jgg, I agree with you that there just wasn't enough time in London. We pared down before the trip, and pared down more on the trip. And still I felt that I didn't have as much time as I would have liked at most of the things that we did! We were in London for 6 days, and did no day trips. There was so much that we missed that we are returning to London this summer for 5 days at the end of a 2 week Scotland trip. I'm not sure if we'll do any day trips then either - there's just that much on my list for London!

As far as plays, we considered the Mousetrap but rejected it when I read all the reviews. We went to Les Mis, which my husband had not seen. My daughters first saw it when they were in their early/mid teens and absolutely love the show. Our friends went to Mama Mia which their family really enjoyed. There's also bound to be a few Shakespeare comedies playing in August.
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May 17th, 2006, 09:18 AM
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Wow...sounds like a great trip to London (and then on to Paris? cool!) Basically, I think you have a good plan. As a parent who has traveled to London with an 11 year old boy and a 14 year old girl, here are a couple of suggestions/observations:

Organized tours? Well, maybe, but they are sometimes filled with older folks and, if so, your children may feel a bit out of place. But this is really hard to judge...the tours could have other kids onboard. Personally, I'd drop at least one organized tour, but then our family isn't much on tourgroups.

Also agree with others that Mousetrap is a Touristtrap. There are dozens of theatre offerings ongoing in London. How about "We Will Rock You"? My son enjoyed that (at age 14). For theater offerings, check the official Society of London Theatre website:

http://www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk

This group also operates the legitimate half-priced ticket kiosk in Leicester Square (Tkks).

A strong "yes" for the Ceremony of the Keys, and for the Tower of London in general. For touring the Tower, suggest you go early in the day.

For alternative walking tours, check out the London Walks company website:

http://www.walks.com/

Regarding the British Museum...it can be overwhelming. Perhaps you should plan a couple of short visits there, instead of a foot-numbing marathon through this huge museum. Also, in the museum area, your kids may really enjoy London's first-class Science Museum. It is very interactive and great for kids:

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk

My kids were not bored at the Cabinet War Rooms; Churchill's underground bunker. And my son liked the Imperial War Museum too.

http://www.iwm.org.uk

At Greenwich, the recently-updated nautical museum is good for families as is the Royal Observatory:

http://www.nmm.ac.uk

I could continue, but instead, feel free to email me ([email protected]) if you have questions.
KidsToLondon is offline  
May 17th, 2006, 02:58 PM
  #18  
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Thanks to you who have given me suggestions.
I have changed to this.
please more feedback

August 16 arrive London from US @8:30 AM
August 17- London
August 18 - London- evening Hatfield House Banquet
August 19 - London
August 20-Premium Tours -Stonehenge and Bath
August 21- Tower of London
August 22- Globe Theater 3 pm and then stay for a comedy of errors
August 23 - Leeds Castle,Canterbury & Dover
August 24-London
August 25-Stratford-upon-Avon Stay over
See RSC
August 26-Warwick
August 27-London
August 28- Greenwich
August 29- London
August 30-Train to Paris
I will have more time in London.
What should we do before we go to the globe theater?
is there bus or rail from warwick to greenwich or should we go back to london for a day?

Thanks for all of your help

melissa

MelissaBeckoff is offline  
May 17th, 2006, 05:24 PM
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HI Melissa,

I think that sounds better. I agree with jgg on not planning too many evening things. We were in London for a week in December with our 11 and 14 year olds. It was a great trip.

If you are interested, my trip report can be found at http://tinyurl.com/n8vhn

You are lucky to have such a nice, long time. Even with a full week, I felt there were many things we would still like to do.

Have fun!

fun4all4 is offline  
May 17th, 2006, 05:30 PM
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Hmm....that link didn't work.

Try

http://tinyurl.com/lqkpa
fun4all4 is offline  

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