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London Wish List

Old Aug 5th, 2003, 08:56 PM
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London Wish List

Okay, all our transportion and lodgings are confirmed and in order so now I feel ready to launch our itinirary onto the Foder Board for review. I've learned so much from the wonderful contributers here that I welcome your input.
Friday: Arrive London Gatwick 11:00AM
Gatwick Express to Thistle Victoria
Check in or Check Luggage
Lunch(suggestions welcome)
Walk to Royal Mews
Back to Thistle Victoria for Tea or Cocktails
Settle in Nap if needed.
Ceremony of the Keys

Saturday: Tube to Tower(Jewels first then Beefeater tour.
RiverCruise to Millennium Pier, walk over Westminster Bridge,Big Bus to Knightsbridge.
Blue Bus to Harrods.
Blue Bus to Trafalgar Square.
Red Bus to St. Pauls.
"Then What Time". We would like to do the "Ghosts of the Old City" Walk at 7:30PM. I'm sure we will be hungry and ready for a comfortable sit down between 5 and 7:30 in the area near St. Pauls.

Sunday: Check out at Thistle Victoria(Leave luggage there).
Madam Tussaud's 10:00.
"WHAT THEN TIME" Buckingham Palace or Kensington Palace? I have read about an Art Market near Kensington Gardens on Sunday mornings(and since my husband does not want to go to Madame Tussaud's that might be enjoyable for him}.
"SUGGESTIONS"...Where would be a place for us to meet up? A Pub or Cafe were one might lolllygag for a half an hour over coffee or tea and not be a stone for the waiter.
As you can see,I am leaning towards Kensington because of its location and the castle and gardens have been said to be so desirable. The area seems huge to me, that is why I am concerned, if we are going to have to find ourselves together after going off in different directions, would it be too impractical to rejoin ourselves here or can someone suggest the landmark place that we could manage a rendevous without the use of cell phones.(I must sound like a novice traveler, but when I leave the states and we don't have our phones I feel like we must plan our meetings more carefully.)
After Mass at Westminster Catherdral at 7:00PM we will collect our luggage at the Thistle Victoria and Taxi to Euston Station for the Sleeper Service to Edinburgh.
Does this make sense?
Thanks,
Emily




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Old Aug 5th, 2003, 10:40 PM
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If you intend being in north-ish cemtral London on a Sunday, and want to go to Mass at some point, I strongly recommend 11am at St Ethelreda's, Ely Place.
Almost uniquely in Britain, St Ethelreda's is a medieval church that's still Catholic. So it's decorated rather like English churches all were until the catastrophic destruction of all decoration during the Reformation.

It also has an outstanding Plainsong choir and a commitment to the traditional sung liturgy. Nowhere else in the world that I'm aware of is it possible to hear a great English choir, in a non-vandalised English church, singing Masses by composers such as Mozart, Palestrina and Lassus.
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Old Aug 6th, 2003, 04:35 AM
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Emily,

Sounds like a fun trip. The art market you are talking about is on Bayswater Road at the edge of Kensington Gardens, and it is kind of fun. I bought a small oil painting of London scenery there that I really love.

Can I through my 2 cents in and say you should do that with your hubby and skip the tourist trap that is Madame Tussaud's? It costs something like 20 GBP per person, and although I know some people like it, I couldn't imagine using up some of my London time there. Anyway, just a thought.

I didn't go into Kensington Palace, but we did walk around the gardens, which are nice. At the entrance to the park on Bayswater Rd, near the beginning of the art market, there are the Italian Gardens with fountains and an ornate building, which is very pretty.

For Buck Palace, if you are not going in August or Sept, you can't go inside, so you just look at it from outside. This took us about 10 minutes. Actually, after going to Hampton Court Palace and Windsor Castle, Buck Palace didn't impress us. I'm sure the inside is much more impressive, though.

Hope this helps a little, even though I can't answer all of your questions. Sounds like a great trip!

Karen
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Old Aug 6th, 2003, 05:08 AM
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If you're looking for a place to "lolly-gag" for a while on Sunday, I'd suggest the Orangery at Kensington Palace -- good atmosphere, good tea and/or sandwiches, and it's in the area you seem to want to be in.
I second the comments about Madame Toussauds -- I went with my kids once, and they didn't even like it much.
Annette
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Old Aug 6th, 2003, 07:21 PM
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Thanks to you all. The Orangerie sounds like a great meeting place. The only requests that my sister has made for our agenda is Madame Tussaud's, the Tower, and a ghost experience. I'm sure she will love it and I will enjoy the experience because it will make her happy. The fee makes me cringe and I'd be happier at the Bayswater Art Market but "It is what it is." thanks again,
Emily
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Old Aug 6th, 2003, 07:31 PM
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A place you and your husband might like to visit is the museum of Churchill's War Rooms. My family and I found it fascinating. If you are at all interested in WWII history, it's a must do site. Enjoy your trip!
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Old Aug 7th, 2003, 05:56 AM
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What ashcanannie is referring to, of course, are the Cabinet War Rooms near Parliament and this is a fascinating exhibit. You can have a look at their website:

http://www.iwm.org.uk/cabinet/

Well worth an hour or two of your time.
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Old Aug 7th, 2003, 06:27 AM
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What is the point of such a precise itinerary ? You should read as much as you can about what is possible, but your choice should depend on circumstances. Will you plod on regardless if it pouring with rain or if the present heatwave continues ? It's best to have several alternative plans in mind, depending on the weather and how you feel.
Incidentally, there is no Millennium Pier. Several piers have the prefix "millennium": there is MIllennium Tower Pier, Millennium Westminster Pier, etc. The one beneath the London Eye is Waterloo (or "Millennium Waterloo Pier", to give its full name).
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Old Aug 7th, 2003, 07:28 AM
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Just a suggestion for the end of your first day in London--even with an afternoon nap, you will be jet lagged so perhaps it might be better to schedule the Ceremony of the Keys a different evening. Otherwise you'll be returning to your hotel quite late.

Enjoy London, one of my favorites!
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Old Aug 7th, 2003, 07:43 AM
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Unfortunately jimily probably can't reschedule the Keys Ceremony. They have most likely already gotten the tickets - you get the date they give you - but I agree, this is a difficult thing to do on the first night. Ocassionally the Tower can exchange tickets - but it is definitely the exception rather than the rule. I agree w/ GeoffHamer - a "too set" itinerary seldom pans out. Transport problems, weather, queues, political demonstrations, etc all work against you. Have some flexibility - I usually advise folks to have a "musts" list arranged by geography and then each evening decide what you'll try to do the next day.
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Old Aug 10th, 2003, 09:51 PM
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GeoffHammer, I'm sure it appears that I have regimented our Holiday, but...I also understand that if we enjoy one half of what we entered on our "Wish List" we will have not waisted our precious time in London. We've been to London three times and can you believe we have yet to see some of the places on our list?
If we get rained on, we won't plod on, we'll take in a Museum or a Pub. Then we will still have some of these same places of consequense on our Wish List next time we go through London.
Thank you for your input, yours and many others is so appreciated.
HOW HOT IS IT?
Emily
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Old Aug 11th, 2003, 04:53 AM
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Still in the 90sF (Monday 11th, just after lunch), but keep an eye on www.bbc.co.uk/weather.
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Old Aug 11th, 2003, 01:02 PM
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Patrick:
Please tell me that those temperatures will go down by mid to end of September. I live in the heat here in Florida 10 months out of the year!!
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Old Aug 11th, 2003, 07:54 PM
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About changing dates for the Ceremony of the Keys....
There is a phone number on the tickets to call if the tickets need to be changed. We did this for our trip in May, and the Yeoman Warder who took care of it over the phone couldn't have been nicer about making the change!
Annette
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Old Aug 12th, 2003, 09:04 PM
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I don't want to mess with success,as far as changing the date for the Ceremony of the Keys. My husband and I have always arrived, eaten a quick lunch, napped, and did a moderately late night and then carried on the next day with not much of a problem.
I may have difficulty remembering the Royal Mews since there will be no time for a nap before enjoying it, but it is what it is. I'm sure the Ceremony of the Keys will be fine because we will have time for a two hour power nap between 5 and 7.
But if...we get to St. Paul's Cathedral on Saturday by 3:45 and want to do the Ghost Tour at 7:30 is there someplace in that area where we can eat and drink that will be memorable?
Always grateful,
Emily
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Old Aug 13th, 2003, 03:46 AM
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Bluefan, What is the point of your post?

Perhaps if you read more carefully you'll note that three of the events (Madame Ts, the Tower and the ghost walk) are specific requests of Emily's sister who I'm guessing has not been to London before.

To each their own. For some of us a slog through Portobello Road on Saturday morning is just a tourist yawn.
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Old Aug 13th, 2003, 09:44 AM
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I am not clear why you will take a blue bus rather than a red bus, twice. Indeed, what is a blue bus ?

From 5 to 7.30 the area near St Pauls on a Saturday is quiet, with most coffee houses closed. You might walk over the Millenium Bridge to the Founders Arms and have a beer or a fizzy drink. The pub has large windows to look out upon the City bank of the Thames. Nowadays people tend to go to the Globe or the Anchor, but I like the Arms

Palace opening times are in their web sites. I agree with your husband, annettetx, and Kaudrey: why see Mme Tussaud s. With no queue (line) and no entry price the National Portrait Gallery at the north east corner of Trafalgar Square does the same job, better. Perhaos you can prersuade your sister ? For meeting near Kensington Palace I agree with annettetx on tea or coffee at the Orangery, just north of the palace. I am not sure they even have waiters, and am sure that nobody there hurries.

When you book your sleeper you should ask for the leaflet which says when you may board your train (I think edledven) and how long you may stay there in the morning (I think till eight). Conductors like to wake you early, to get their work done, whereas you want as long in bed as possible.

Upstairs at the Albert on the corner of Victoria Street and Buckingham Gate may be a good place for supper on Sunday after Mass at Westminster Cathedral.

I agree with Flanneruk that Mass at St Ethelreda's, Ely Place has special quality, but not that in other churches all decoration was destroyed during the Reformation. The royal tombs and chapels at Westminster Abbey, and the décor of Kings College Chapel in Cambridge, are just two excepotion. I think levels of destruction depended upon the zeal of commissioners of Henry VIII and of Oliver Cromwell and upon the strength of local opposition. Moreover, the destroyers were like the church Fathers at the Council of Trent when they attacked Mariolatry, in that they worked to an ideological programme. One may admire their ideology or not, but neither commissioners nor fathers were vandals. As we Christians labour away at re-union it helps to look into the minds of those we disagree with. I, for example, have to understand why hardly anybody in Josephine Vienna left any church to stand in its gothic décor. You hear Mozart, Palestrina and Lassus routinely in Anglican churches in England, just as you hear the hymns of Newman. Some music shines with such flame of the Spirit that neither Church can snuff it out, nor wants to.

Cheer up, everybody, mid September will be noticeably cooler.

How pleasant to read such knowledgeable admiration of my city. Thank you all.

Ben Haines
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Old Aug 13th, 2003, 11:59 PM
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Geez, what I'd write that warranted deletion? Must of been too obnoxious for an OBnoXious girl! Some people on this forum really need to relax instead of taking every minor poke as a major offense.

One thing I mentioned was that I think it's wonderful that travelers like jimily and others plan out such detailed itineraries, which is also oftentimes criticized as noticed above. If it fits your detailed personality...great! If it doesn't, why rip on others? A detailed itinerary really helps to maximize a short visit instead of leaving everything up to whim where indecision could equally hurt vacations.

Just keep a light-hearted attitude jimily (unlike what some posters display here) along with your detailed schedule, and I'm sure it'll turn out to be a wonderful trip for all!
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Old Aug 14th, 2003, 07:08 AM
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Hello. I have only been to London once but loved it so much that I am having anxiety about my trip to Paris this year- how can it possibly be as good, etc. I went to the National Gallery four times while I was there: guided tours, talks, rambles on my own. No, I didn't spend all my time there. I also recommend a trip to the half price theatre ticket booth - so much easier than TKTS in NYC. There is one official one and lots of others. I am sure you would be able to find something you all like. But don't pass up an opportunity to see some of their greats - I was lucky enough to get an 8th row seat for Maggie Smith and Judi Dench (well worth the full price at the box office!) last November. All the seats I got from the half price places were equally good - furthest back I sat was midway back for Elaine Stritch. Not best of all, but definately worth mentioning is they sell ice cream right in the theatre at intermission.
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Old Aug 14th, 2003, 10:06 PM
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Thanks Mr. Haines, look forward to the Founders Arms.
I haven't ever done planning for our pop-in pop-out London experiences. We've been at the mercies of those who have been to those Tourist Places. I want to see those Tourist Places this time. I've only planned for the Tower, Harrod's, and St. Paul's on Saturday.
I've discovered that Tussaud's is open during the evening on Sunday, so we can enjoy High Mass and the Bayswater Art Fair, Kensington Palace and or Gardens...then Tussaud's in the evening before heading for Euston Station for Edinburgh.
We have done Paris several time(for example), sometimes with a planned itinerary and sometimes without. I have found that setting a goal for enjoying two sights in the morning and two in the afternoon at least gets us set in a direction. If we don't get it all in it is because we have been content where something on our agenda was more satisfying. We vacation in France or the UK each year and when my husband invites other family members to join us, he stipulates that Emily sets the itinerary. Our vacations have been incredibly enhanced by the information available on the internet. Thank you all.
Emily
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