My 8 day itinerary. Help

Old Apr 27th, 2002, 05:25 PM
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My 8 day itinerary. Help

Travelling to London for 8 days Im trying to make a plan for the week Travelling with 2 children over 11 years of age. Day one Wed. arrive at 9 expect to arrive at hotel by noon. Have lunch Take a walk to the Science museum or History museum near hotel and maybe Harrods in evening. Day 2 Take a hop on off bus tour of the city. Would like to stay on bus to get an overview Can I see anything else on that day?Maybe see the British Museum on this day. How long are the bus tours if you don't get off? Day 3 Head to Royal London, see the changing of the guard, National Gallary,Houses of Parliament and Big Ben,, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square etc. Day 4 Tower of London, London Dungeon, ferry to London Eye and Aquarium or skip Aquarium and see Globe theater.Day 5 Windsor and Lego land Day 6 Stonehenge and Bath tour or stones and bones tour Any suggestions? Astral vs. Evan Evan? Day6 Sherlock Holmes Museum and Madame Tussauds, Abbey Road
Day 7 Statford on Avon or Leeds Castle
Day 8 Maybe do Globe theater on this day and Tate Modern ,St. Paul's Cathedral
My itenerary seems to be falling apart in the end Does it sound OK? or does it need some fine tuning?Im missing Piccadilly circus, Kew and Kensington Gardens. I would also like a day to just relax and enjoy. Sometimes you can overplan and then miss the real beauty of the trip. It's not always in an itinerary however...... any suggestions you may have would be extremely helpful. Thank-you Chris
Old Apr 27th, 2002, 05:50 PM
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I took my 13 yo son and 15 yo daughter to London last summer. Your list includes most of our highlights. BUT your kids are too old for Legoland; skip it even though it's handy to Windsor.

The Changing of the Guard is, as someone here put it, just two guys getting off work. Also, you must be either very early or very tall if you're going to see anything. It's an event that gets a lot of publicity because it's symbolic and photogenic, but really not worth the time investment.

Get to Westminster Abbey when it opens and take a verger's tour (pay a little extra at a desk inside after paying regular admission) to get more insight into what you're seeing. My kids liked the National Portrait Gallery better than the National Gallery -- Portait has very enlightening and entertaining text with its exhibits, plus, well, mine are history buffs which is why we were in London in the first place. Nearby St. Martin in the Fields has a great cafe for lunch in its crypt, with a brass-rubbing center too.

Tower of London is another place to get to before it opens, to avoid big lines. Check out the web site for the London Dungeon before visiting -- my kids decided it was a cheesy waste of time (thank goodness). We also decided to give Madame Tussaud's a skip -- I've trained them to avoid places that exist solely to attract tourists. We took the Catamaran Cruisers boat to Greenwich and enjoyed it -- watch out for their Circle Tour, though it also goes between the Tower and the Eye, because I think that giving a tour in several languages can get onerous.

The aquarium was nice, but we got a lot more out of the Globe Theatre. We wished we had allowed more time for their very extensive museum. I've heard that they're showing A Midsummer Night's Dream this summer, which the kids would probably enjoy.

We took Astral's Stonehenge Inner Circle Tour, a full day that includes Avebury etc., though it was expensive, because it was the one thing my son specifically wanted to do. We condsidered it money well spent.

Leeds castle is a grand house with wonderful gardens, but not a real castle. Consider Hampton Court Palace if Windsor isn't enough castle for you. The kitchens are fascinating.

We spent a couple of days in the Stratford area, went to a couple of the Shakespeare-related homes and a play, etc. and enjoyed it. Yes, it's touristy, but some places are touristy because they're worth visiting!

I've been told that the interior work on St. Paul's has progressed so that right now you cannot climb to the top, quite a shame, you might want to check on what restrictions they might have when you're there.

It's OK if your itinerary "falls apart" a little, because it really is a good idea to have some time that's flexible, in case you want to spend more time at one of the places you've chosen, or discover something you hadn't planned on.
Old Apr 27th, 2002, 06:32 PM
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We did the Big Red bus hop on/hop off bus tour our first day, as we figured we'd be tired. You get 24 hours, when you buy a ticket, so you can take it your first day, as we did, and use it part day of day two. There are several routes which have cross-over points, and, if I recall, about two hours per route was standard. There is wait time between busses, when you are changing routes and the busses can get crowded.

It was actually quite expensive for four people, and wasn't worth it, I thought, as we wanted to get out and about and not spend so much time on the bus. But, you will be there longer. Still, you might want to break it up over two days as noone is going to want to sit on the bus for an entire day.
Old Apr 27th, 2002, 06:38 PM
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You may be cramming a little too much in, Chris. Doing something near your hotel the first day sounds good -- you may actually just want to wander a bit and recover from jet lag.

The bus on day two sounds like a good idea to get yourselves oriented (you can hop on and off if you want.) Then you can chose what interests you most and go back.

A few suggestions: The National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery on Trafalgar Square can easily take a morning, (or a whole day.) You could do those, have lunch in the crypt at St Martins across the street (as Ellen suggested) and then walk down to Westminister Abbey and the Houses of Parilament. OR you could walk north from Trafalgar Square through Covent Garden to the British Museum.

The Tower is half a day, and since you'll be that far east anyway, you could make a tube stop to see St. Pauls on the way back.

Personally, I, too would skip the Changing of the Guard, definitely skip the London Dungeon, and probably skip Madame Tussaud's. (The kids might enjoy Mme Tussaud's, but be prepared to wait in line.)

If your hotel is near the Natural History Museum, then you're probably not too far from Harrod's and can do those on the same day. The Victoria and Albert Museum, next door to the Natural History Museum, is a treat, too -- and more uniquely "London."

Picadilly Circus is just a big traffic jam, but if you want to see it, just walk a few blocks up from Trafalgar Square. Kew and Kennsington Gardens would be on my "B" list, not top priority for a first trip.

I'd leave a little more time just for wandering around and serendipity.

Have a great trip!
Old Apr 27th, 2002, 06:43 PM
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chris: Ellen stole most of my thunder. Basically - Skip London Dungeon, legoland, Changing of the Guard and Leeds Castle. I might recommend Hampton Court Palace over Windsor. Both are great - but every child I have ever taken there really LOVED the Tudor kitchens and Anne Boleyn/Henry VII connections plus the maze. If you feel you have time you could do both HCP and Windsor, but if it is only to be one, pick HCP.

Do not make the mistake of leaving Harrods for an evening visit - it is not open at night. One night a week (it used to be thurs but that might have changed) it is open til 7PM.
Old Apr 27th, 2002, 06:46 PM
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I forgot to add - you don't have to miss Kensington Gardens -- If your hotel is near the Science and Natural History History Museums, you are walking distance to Hyde Park/Kensimgton gardens. Just take an early morning walk through them.
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