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vinonobile987 Feb 10th, 2019 07:54 AM

My April trip to London (fourth time visit)
 
Hi All,

First and foremost, I would like to tank so many of you who gave me fabulous advice for my day trips from London and for the Kensington area.

Here is my plan. I had visited many London major attractions in the past, so I am not going to the Westminster Abbey, Churchill War Rooms, Buckingham Palace, etc. this time (I revisited them in September 2018 - fascinating!).

London Trip - Apr 21 to May 1st.


April 22 Monday

Arrival day after the overnight flight from Boston. My hotel is AC Marriott Xenia and I am planning to take a tube to Earls Court from LHR as I will have only one relatively small bag with me - I always pack light.

Kensington Palace (opened till 4pm)
Kensington Gardens
Victoria and Albert Museum (opened till 17:45 pm) - second visit. Booked ticket for the “Christian Dior, Designer of Dreams” exhibit at 15:30pm

April 23 Tuesday

St. Paul Cathedral (from 8:30am till 16:00pm). Closed Sunday.
The Charterhouse
Museum of London
Royal Hospital Chelsea
Shakespeare Globe tour - if time permits.

April 24th Wednesday

National Gallery (opened till 6pm and Friday till 9pm)
National Portrait Gallery
Wyndham Theater: Arthur Miller “The price”

April 25th Thursday

Leeds Castle (from 10:00am till 16:30 pm). From Victoria Station.

April 26th Friday

Tower of London (from 9am till 16:30 pm)
London Bridge - just to take a look (we had done a short tour years ago)
Walk to Covent Garden (45 min via Victoria Embankment) - good idea?
ROH “Romeo and Juliet” at 7:30 pm. Ticket purchased.

April 27th Saturday

Winchester day trip from Waterloo
Winchester Cathedral (from 8:30am till 5pm)
Wolvesay Castle and Old Bishop’s place, if time permits.
Tate Modern (15 minutes walk from Waterloo Station) - opened till 6pm and Fri-Sat till 10 pm

April 28th Sunday

Options:
1. Hatfield House - 30mins from Kings Cross. The House is right opposite the station.

2. Richmond and Ham House (50 minutes by train from Waterloo Station).

3. Arundel - 1 hour 30 min from Victoria Station

April 29 Monday

Canterbury - 1 hour from St.Pancras Station.

April 30 Tuesday

Hampton Court - 45 minutes from Waterloo Station
Eltham Castle from Waterloo Station, if time permits.
Walk in Hyde Park (my usual walk when I am in London)

May 1st - flight home to Boston

I know I have a busy agenda, but I am not skipping lunches or dinners😊. And all my day trips are weather dependent and I am sure I will be shuffling things around on the spot.

What do do you think?

Thanks a million!






janisj Feb 10th, 2019 08:58 AM

Random comments.

• Your day 1 is awfully full for a possibly jet lagged day. I know the Dior tix are set . . . but I'd drop Kens Palace and just plan on walking in the Parks and the V&A.

• April 23 doesn't make sense. You are zig zagging across to St Pauls, back across to Chelsea, then back to the Globe which is right across the river from St Paul's. I'd drop the Chelsea Hospital and concentrate on City sites and the Globe. Have you been to the Guildhall with its Great Hall, art gallery, Roman amphitheatre, etc. It would be a much better fit with St Pauls than anything in Chelsea/to the west.

April 27 -- I don't see how you could fit in the Tate after a long day trip to Winchester. The train will take more than an hour each way and and you'll want at least 5 hours IN Winchester so even with an 8 AM start from your hotel you likely won't get back to London Waterloo before 5PM PM at the earliest.

Assuming you mean Eltham Palace -- your April 30 is nigh on impossible. HCP will take at minimum until 3 PM by the time you get back to Waterloo. Trains to Mottingham (for Eltham Palace) don't leave from Waterloo -- either Charing Cross or Cannon Street. Do either HCP or Eltham Palace which you can combine with something nearer Charing Cross.

I know you are set on Leeds Castle -- but if it was me I'd use that day for HCP or Etham Palace instead

vinonobile987 Feb 10th, 2019 09:12 AM

My plans
 
Totally makes sense, Janis! Thank you!

Guildhall is a great idea (never been) and everything, except for St.Paul’s Cathedral, is just a wish list and not a must. I will add the Globe tour (it takes 40 minutes and also I will spend some time in the museum).

Also, Tate Modern is opened till 10 pm on the day of my Winchester trip and I will be rested after the train ride. I am not a huge fan of modern art, so I am mostly going there for the views and for the painters I like. “Black Square” like paintings do not inspire me. My Tate Modern visit will be nowhere near as long as my day in the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery.

I included plenty of day trips, but I know for a fact that Leeds and Arundel are 100% weather dependent, so I am just trying to arrange something as a backup plan.

And I am very open for more things to do in London. I do love day trips, but London I love more than everything.

janisj Feb 10th, 2019 09:21 AM

Oh - I forgot Tate Modern is open late on Sat. too. But . . . The Tate is right next door to the Globe and across from St Paul's. Since you don't plan on spending much time in the Gallery -- I'd lump it in on the St Pauls/City/Globe day.

vinonobile987 Feb 10th, 2019 09:32 AM

Tate Modern
 
Yep, I was thinking about it too, Janis! Great idea!


northie Feb 11th, 2019 05:35 PM

on 28th I would do Hatfield House-childhood home of Elizabeth 1.-loved it.

vinonobile987 Feb 11th, 2019 05:42 PM

Hatfield House
 
Yes, Hatfield House is very high on my priority list now. Can I combine it with Kew Royal Botanical Gardens?

janisj Feb 11th, 2019 06:08 PM

>>Can I combine it with Kew Royal Botanical Gardens?<<

Not at all. One is in the western suburbs and the other is 20 miles north of London and you would have to double back through London to get from one to the other. Kew is a doable match with Hampton Court but not doable with Hatfield.

vinonobile987 Feb 11th, 2019 06:20 PM

Kew Gardens
 
Perfect! Thank you, Janisj! I will then combine Kew Gardens with Hampton Court. I messed up: meant to combine Ham House with Kew Gardens, not Hatfield House.

janisj Feb 11th, 2019 07:03 PM

>>meant to combine Ham House with Kew Gardens, not Hatfield House.<<

That does make more sense . . . :)

Ham House is an even better fit with Kew than HCP. Ham House is less than 4 mies from Kew.

vinonobile987 Feb 11th, 2019 07:10 PM

Ham House
 
Will go to both then😊. And will most likely replace Leeds Castle with Hatfield House. Thank you, Janisj!

janisj Feb 11th, 2019 07:21 PM

>>And will most likely replace Leeds Castle with Hatfield House<<

I think that's a good choice. The train ride to Hatfield is 30 minutes shorter and the entrance is right across from the station. Not only does Leeds take twice as long by train -- you then have to catch a periodic shuttle bus to the castle.

vinonobile987 Feb 11th, 2019 07:40 PM

Yes, reaching Leeds Castle was my biggest concern, so I would rather go to Hatfield House. It will be fun to visit the childhood home and of Elizabeth I.

Odin Feb 12th, 2019 02:23 AM

If you were renting a car, Kew Gardens and Hatfield House are very easy to combine but by public transport, it would take far too long plus you need quite a bit of time to see each place, no good being rushed. At Hatfield House, not only do you have the main house, but the gardens/park and the Old Palace, St Ethelreda's Church and a walk down Fore Street in Old Hatfield is very interesting, many Georgian houses to see from the outside. Hatfield House has been used in many film locations over the years.it has some Roman items eg a roman marble bath tub in the Marble Hall which came from nearby Verulamium (St Albans), some personal items from Elizabeth I are on display.

Kew Gardens is always a delight at any time of the year IMO, again there is alot to see inc. interesting buildings and kitchen gardens. Combined with a trip to Ham House and Richmond afterwards to walk along the river which is very close by, a good place to have dinner - the Ivy has an all day dining cafe there but it is always full, so needs prebooking.

vinonobile987 Feb 12th, 2019 04:47 AM

Richmond
 
Thank you so much for your wonderful advice, Odin! No, no car... My husband drives everywhere in Europe and we had done countless driving trips, but we never attempt to drive on the “other side”, so we had done all our previous trips to England and Ireland using public transportation.

I revised my plan now:

April 25th Thursday

Hatfield House - 30mins from Kings Cross (is it correct?). The House is right opposite the station.

April 28th Sunday

Richmond and Ham House (50 minutes by train from Waterloo Station) or Tube. Royal Botanical Kew Gardens.

April 29 Monday

Canterbury - 1 hour from St.Pancras Station.

April 30 Tuesday

Hampton Court - 45 minutes from Waterloo Station

Looks realistic?

Thanks a million to all! You gave me exactly the tips I was looking for.

Odin Feb 12th, 2019 05:06 AM


Originally Posted by vinonobile987 (Post 16872130)
April 25th Thursday

Hatfield House - 30mins from Kings Cross (is it correct?). The House is right opposite the station.

April 28th Sunday

Richmond and Ham House (50 minutes by train from Waterloo Station) or Tube. Royal Botanical Kew Gardens.

April 30 Tuesday

Hampton Court - 45 minutes from Waterloo Station



Hatfield Station is about 30mins from Kings X, the entrance to the house is exactly opposite the station, You have to walk thru the entrance and along a road to get to the actual house.
If you have the time and inclination, you can visit Eight Bells Pub in Park Street, Old Hatfield, grade II listed with lots of history and charm

50mins seems a bit long for Waterloo to Richmond, it's more like 20mins but then you need to get to Ham House and Kew Gardens which can be done by bus so I guess it would be about 50mins overall. A very very very nice place close to Ham House for lunch is Petersham Nurseries. A nice place for dinner near Kew Gardens is the Glasshouse

vinonobile987 Feb 12th, 2019 05:20 AM

Fantastic, Odin! I am so thrilled about my day trips now! Something so different from my usual castle obsession😊

The places for lunch you have recommended are on my list. Thank you so much!

All I need is decent weather. Do not mind cold, wind or even a bit of rain. We enjoyed our walk in the Holyrood Palace Gardens in Edinburgh in pretty nasty weather, London was not too kind with the weather last time as well, so I am not too picky.

vinonobile987 Feb 21st, 2019 07:32 AM

Sir John Soane's Museum
 
Hello All,

You have been so helpful! My trip is shaping up nicely and I will post my final itinerary soon.

One question: what do you think about the Sir John Soane's Museum? Is it worth visiting?

Thank you in advance!

janisj Feb 21st, 2019 09:21 AM

>>One question: what do you think about the Sir John Soane's Museum? Is it worth visiting? <<

LOVE it!! Yes -- very 'worth' visiting . . .

vinonobile987 Feb 21st, 2019 09:56 AM

Thank you, Janisj! I am sure capricious London weather will present unwanted surprises to my planned day trips, so this lovely museum will be a great alternative for me.

PalenQ Feb 21st, 2019 10:55 AM

I walked to Ham House from Richmond on paths along the Thames forget how far but not very far as I recall. I also walked from Kingston to Hampton Court, coming in thru the vast deer park.

vinonobile987 Mar 16th, 2019 06:32 AM

Final itinerary
 
Hello everyone,

You have already helped me so much - THANK YOU!

Hwre is the final version of my itinerary. What do you think? Thank you very much in advance!

London Trip - Apr 21 to May 1st.


April 22 Monday

Arrival day after the overnight flight from Boston. My hotel is AC Marriott Xenia and I am planning to take a tube to Earls Court from LHR as I will have only one relatively small bag with me - I always pack light.

Kensington Palace (opened till 4pm)
Kensington Gardens
Victoria and Albert Museum (opened till 17:45 pm). Booked ticket for 15:30 pm
Christian Dior, Designer of Dreams exhibit.

April 23 Tuesday

St. Paul Cathedral (from 8:30am till 16:00pm). Maybe London Walks “St. Paul Cathedral” tour - starts at 10:30am.
Guildhall
Shakespeare Globe tour.
Nice dinner somewhere

April 24th Wednesday

National Gallery (opened till 6pm and Friday till 9pm)
National Portrait Gallery
Wyndham Theater: Arthur Miller “The price”

April 25th Thursday

Hatfield House - 30mins from Kings Cross. The House is right opposite the station.

Nice dinner somewhere not far from my hotel

Alternative day trip: Eltham Palace from Waterloo Station

April 26th Friday

Tower of London (from 9am till 16:30 pm)
Tower Bridge - just to take a look (we had taken a short tour years ago)
Walk to Covent Garden (45 min via going along the Southbank (past the Globe and the Tate Modern)
ROH “Romeo and Juliet” at 7:30 pm. Ticket purchased.

April 27th Saturday

Winchester day trip from Waterloo
Winchester Cathedral (from 8:30am till 5pm)
Wolvesay Castle and Old Bishop’s place, if time permits.
Evening at Tate Modern (15 minutes walk from Waterloo Station) - opened till 6pm and Fri-Sat till 10 pm

April 28th Sunday (London marathon - getting out of town)

Richmond and Ham House (50 minutes by train from Waterloo Station or Tube, District line). Royal Botanical Kew Gardens.

Nice dinner somewhere not far from my hotel


April 29 Monday

Canterbury - 1 hour from St.Pancras Station.

Maybe: London Walks “Old Westminster by Gaslight” tour at 7pm (Westminster Tube, Exit 4).

April 30 Tuesday

Hampton Court - 45 minutes from Waterloo Station
Walk in Hyde Park (my usual walk when I am in London)

May 1st - flight home to Boston

janisj Mar 16th, 2019 10:48 AM

Your Monday will be VERY difficult IMO. Since the Dior is set in stone, focus on that and a nice lunch at the V&A or nearby. If you are up to it - then a walk through Hyde Park/Kens Gardens. I wouldn't try to squeeze in Kensington Palace too. What time do you land at LHR?

On Thurs >>The House is right opposite the station<<. Just an FYI -- the Entrance is across from the station . . . the actual house is some walk.

Friday: >>Tower Bridge - just to take a look (we had taken a short tour years ago)
Walk to Covent Garden (45 min via going along the Southbank (past the Globe and the Tate Modern) <<

You must walk very fast to do that in 45 minutes. -- I'd count on at least 1.25 hours. Instead -- why not walk along the southbank after visiting the Globe on Tuesday? From the Tower (after checking out the bridge) catch the #15 bus which will take you Past Monument, Mansion House, St Paul's Ludgate Hill, the Royal Courts, Aldwych, Covent Garden.

vinonobile987 Mar 16th, 2019 11:10 AM

Great advice, Janisj! Thank you!

i forgot to update my Day 1 (April 22nd): I am skipping Kensington Palace. I researched a bit more about it and I have no interest to visit. I land at LHR at 8AM.

The only reason I want to do the Southbank Walk on Friday, April 26th is that I have to be at the ROH for “Romeo and Juliet”, but I can certainly do the walk in Tuesday. Makes sense! I walk fast and am an avid walker/hiker, so I welcome long walks. Love the idea of bus #15! Will my Oyster Card work for buses?

Thank you very much again!

janisj Mar 16th, 2019 11:18 AM

>>The only reason I want to do the Southbank Walk on Friday, April 26th is that I have to be at the ROH for “Romeo and Juliet”<<

Me personally wouldn't want to be walking for nearly 2 hours (if you stop anywhere en route - a little over an hour if you walk straight through) before going to dinner and the ROH.

>>Will my Oyster Card work for buses?<<.

Absolutely. On the Buses, the DLR, the Tube, and even trains within London (like to Hampton Court)

vinonobile987 Mar 16th, 2019 11:55 AM

I usually do long walks before the opera or ballet or any performance for that matter, so I will just play it by ear - all my walks and day trips are weather dependent, so I am sure I would be shuffling things adjusting my plans on the fly. I love walking and usually walk miles and miles when I travel. I also never eat anything but something very light before theater, but I tend to have substantial late lunch on those days. In general, meals are not a problem for me as long as they are healthy and not loaded with fats or carbs. And taking a bus is a great option.

Meanwhile, I booked a ticket for “The Price” - very anxious to see David Suchet.

You have been so helpful, Janisj! I really appreciate it. Thank you!!!


janisj Mar 16th, 2019 07:56 PM

You'e very welcome. Have a great trip and be sure to report back. I still haven't booked a Spring/early Summer trip so you'll see the Dior before I get there.

vinonobile987 Mar 16th, 2019 08:49 PM

Thank you so much, Janisj! Now I am thinking how all this Brexit thing affect my trip... Something I really did not think about before...

vinonobile987 Mar 22nd, 2019 12:12 PM

Historic Royal Palaces
 
Just found out that in my case it makes sense to buy one year membership for Historic Royal Palaces (cost 53£). It will be less expensive than buying tickets for the five of them on my list separately.

I will add the “Banqueting House” to my April 24th plan as it is a stone throw away from the National Gallery.

And I will probably find some time for Kensington Palace during my trip as a rainy day alternative.

So I will have all five of them with no specific allocated time slot, which allows me to be flexible with my plans.

Of course, Hillsborough Palace and Gardens are out of reach for me, but the other five are on my list.

Here is the link:

https://www.hrp.org.uk/#gs.2mrgto

Do you know if there are some hidden caveats?

Thank you so much!

PalenQ Mar 22nd, 2019 12:36 PM

Hatfield House is practically in London and one of most famous stately English houses - short train ride from London. Known also for it culinary and pleasure gardens. In neat small village of the same name:

https://www.google.com/search?q=hatfield+house+images&tbm=isch&source=uni v&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwio8Kmrv5bhAhWc94MKHSAYBGcQsAR6BA gIEAE&biw=1280&bih=625

janisj Mar 22nd, 2019 12:42 PM

Pal: It does help to read through a thread. The OP and other Fodorites have already had long discussions re Hatfield House on more than one thread including more that 20 mentions on this thread . . .

PalenQ Mar 22nd, 2019 12:45 PM

OK - good criticism.

vinonobile987 Mar 22nd, 2019 01:07 PM

Yes, all I need is to get an answer if there are hidden caveats with buying the HRP membership.

Thank you!

Odin Mar 22nd, 2019 01:24 PM

FYI re Hatfield and the "neat small village" of the same name. There is Old Hatfield which is where the House is and some lovely old streets, Georgian buildings, pubs with crooked old walls, St Ethelreda's Church etc, then there is the "new town" of Hatfield which was built after the 2nd world war. Old Hatfield is the only place worth visiting for a tourist; the new town is truly abysmal, run down, depressing and generally awful.

<<Hampton Court - 45 minutes from Waterloo Station>> It's 36 mins and the trains only run twice an hour.

<<Richmond and Ham House (50 minutes by train from Waterloo Station or Tube, District line). Royal Botanical Kew Gardens.>> From the AC Xenia, you can take the district line tube and change at Earls Court to Richmond. From Richmond station you can either take a taxi or the number 65 bus (destination Kingston) and get off at Ham, not sure which stop, might be best to ask the driver, could be the Fox & Duck at Petersham. Otherwise you can walk along the river from Richmond, should take about 30 mins or so. The same bus in the opposite direction will take you to Kew Gardens.

https://tfl.gov.uk/bus/timetable/65/

<<Nice dinner somewhere not far from my hotel>> There are some cute places near Kew Gardens tube station, it has a villagey feel, the Glasshouse restaurant is very good, else Bibendum near South Kensington is not too far from your hotel.

vinonobile987 Mar 22nd, 2019 01:37 PM

Thank you so much, Odin! I would LOVE to walk along the river for 30 minutes - I am a walker/hiker. I hope it is safe.

Is there any way to avoid the “abysmal” part of Hatfield? I really hate dilapidated rundown towns and try to stay away from them. They drive me nuts and spoil the whole adventure.

And I really like your restaurant recommendations near the Kew Gardens tube station. I tend not to eat late at night and am usually done with my dinner around 6pm. If I have to eat later, I just get something very light and call it a day.

Odin Mar 22nd, 2019 02:15 PM

Yes it is perfectly safe to walk along the river to Ham House.
The comment about Hatfield new town was for PQ because he mentioned the village of the same name, I was just saying there is Hatfield and Old Hatfield. You won't go anywhere near Hatfield itself, the entrance to Hatfield House is opposite the station and the station is not near Hatfield town centre. You'll be in Old Hatfield only and that is very charming.

The Glasshouse near Kew Gardens station is probably only open from 6.30pm, if that doesn't work out for you, there is Petersham Nurseries Cafe which is very close to Ham House.

https://petershamnurseries.com/dine/the-teahouse

janisj Mar 22nd, 2019 02:20 PM

Not a thing the world to worry about re either walking along the Thames or Old Hatfield. (Odin is more patient than I am ;) )

vinonobile987 Mar 22nd, 2019 02:28 PM

Thank you, Janisj and Odin! My mind is at ease now😊

PalenQ Mar 22nd, 2019 02:42 PM

I walk fast and am an avid walker/hiker, so I welcome long walks.>

I walked from Kingston to Hampton Court - be sure to go on the right side of the river as that has all walking paths - made a mistake once and took left side - ugh! The walk comes in thru the Deer Park surrounding Hampton Court.

vinonobile987 Mar 22nd, 2019 03:10 PM

Thank you, PalenQ! Unfortunately, I have no time to walk in Hampton Court.


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