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My Tentative 10 day Itinerary...Please Critique!!!

My Tentative 10 day Itinerary...Please Critique!!!

Nov 21st, 2002, 10:18 AM
  #21  
RnR
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Hi, Len. Let me know how you liked the Rubens, okay?

About your plan: why not keep everything you listed, but group them - #1 and #2.

Start at the top each day - what you see, fine, what you miss, next time.

It's good to have a full list - you can always pare back.

My first day list always starts with this landmark: a bed! Then I catch up. I doff my hat to your energy and enthusiasm. I am sure you'll have a wonderful trip!

And please post some feedback.
 
Nov 21st, 2002, 11:03 AM
  #22  
wes fowler
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Let me offer a suggestion regarding a city bus tour of London upon your arrival. Rest assured, following an international flight one or both of you will fall asleep during the course of a commercial city bus tour. The cost of the tour is relatively expensive, particularly when you consider much of its cost is subsidizing a jet lagged travelers nap. Rather than attempting to orient yourself to London by taking a commercial tour bus with a bunch of other tourists from Idaho, Hong Kong and Sydney, first pick up a copy of the A-Z Visitors’ London Atlas and Guide. It’s about the size of a postcard and less than half an inch thick, but it lists every major attraction in London, opening and closing hours and nearest underground station. It also has a superbly detailed set of maps that identify every street, attraction on it, underground stations and bus routes identified by street. It’s available at bookstores, tourist information offices and most newstands. Now, purchase a London daily transport ticket for Zone 1and 2 (where almost all of the attractions are located). Costs will range from approximately 4 pounds for a daily pass to 6 pounds for a week end pass. The passes allow you to hop on or off buses as you see fit. With A-Z Guide in hand, you have a couple of inexpensive sightseeing options.

At Victoria Station, board one of the red enclosed double decker London Transport buses marked “11 Liverpool Street Station”. Sit up top up front. You’ll drive past Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, up Whitehall past 10 Downing Street, Horse Guards and Banqueting Hall to Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery, then onto the Strand past the Courtauld Institute, to Fleet Street and the Royal Courts of Justice, and on to St. Paul’s Cathedral. As an alternate, at Paddington Station or Marble Arch, board the city bus marked “15 Canningtown” and ride down Oxford Street past Selfridge’s department store to Oxford Circus then down Regent Street past Liberty’s and Josiah Wedgewood to Piccadilly Circus and on to Trafalgar Square, St. Paul’s and the Tower of London. Get on and off as frequently as you please, wherever you please, your ticket (which may cost less than 10% of the one for the commercial tour bus) is good all day. By combining both bus rides you will end up seeing every one of London’s major attractions except Buckingham Palace and Harrod’s. The advantages? You set the pace. You save considerable money. You can get on and off wherever you choose (for lunch, to explore, to shop) rather than just where the tour bus stops. You may have the opportunity to interact with a native Londoner (“Excuse me, ma’am, is that the British Museum to our left?) rather than a fellow tourist or tour guide. Disadvantages? You don’t have the benefit of a guide’s narrative, a small price to pay.

 
Nov 21st, 2002, 11:13 AM
  #23  
wes fowler
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Now, a comment regarding the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. Recognize that this ritual actually involves the pomp and circumstance involved in a couple of guys getting off work. Recognize that if you’re not at the palace at least 45 minutes prior to the ceremony, you’ll spend your time attempting to look over or around the tourists who are glued three deep to a wrought iron fence. Recognize that the 45 minutes wait is an absolute waste of time although you can probably drum up a conversation with someone from Iowa or Passaic, New Jersey. Consider an alternative: the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London, a 700 year old nightly tradition where the Tower is locked down for the night. Far more historic when you consider that the Tower dates to 1067 or so while Buckingham Palace was, at one time not too long ago, the French Embassy ! Never more than 15 or so tourists in attendance. A text search here will give you the details for securing free tickets to the Tower ceremony or drop me an Email.
Yet another alternative is the Changing of the Horse Guards at Horse Guards on Whitehall, a far less crowded ceremony than at Buckingham Palace.

You have an excellent comprehensive itinerary, both for London and the British countryside. It’s unfortunate, however, that you don’t have the three to four weeks necessary to fully experience your "wish list". Look over your plans carefully; recognize that certain places will be closed when you hope to visit (Harrod's on Sunday, for example); recognize that a "tour" of the Cabinet War Rooms encompasses an hour of your time at a minimum; recognize that viewing 10 Downing Street involves nothing more than a glance down a street through a wrought iron fence.
 
Nov 21st, 2002, 01:15 PM
  #24  
Len
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Whhhheeew! Wes, thanks so much for all of that great info. RnR thank you for your kind words and advice, and I will indeed tell you about the Rubens. Some general things I am getting from the responses are these: First day with jet lag will probably be just a couple of sites. Bath not worth it? Maybe cut out Stratford and just see Warwick Castle on Thursday. Again, for those who think I got it all wrong...note that I have travelled extensively and although never to England I do understand my limitations. This is really just an all encompassing wish list that I threw up here so I could get the expert advice of what to cut and so on from seasoned England travellers. So please keep the comments coming they are great and so helpful. On day one I arrive at 8 in the morning, I can't imagine that I will not be able to at least see The Tower of London and lunch at Ye Olde Chesire...no? Thanks again to all who responded. This is very exciting!
 
Nov 21st, 2002, 01:17 PM
  #25  
Len
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Oh yeah...and I guess I should forego the Changing of the Guards...seems like a lot of time to spend...
 
Nov 21st, 2002, 01:30 PM
  #26  
janis
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Len - just to answer that one question about the first day. You arrive at approx 8:05. With the length of time to unload the plane, claim your luggage, clear immigration and travel into town -- No matter which mode of transport you use you will not be to your hotel until well after 10AM - perhaps as late as Noon. Lunch is no problem - you'll likely have to do lunch before your room is available. Then check in, unpack and leave for the Tower by about 2PM. (Or you could leave your bags at the hotel and check in and unpack in the evening) The lines at the Tower are not bad late in the afternoon so getting there by about 2:30 will be OK. Then you have 3 hours to see the Tower which is enough for a fairly good overview.

As you can see - the Tower will be about all you could manage on the first day.
 
Nov 21st, 2002, 01:40 PM
  #27  
Len
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...as I was saying, I defer to the England experts...thanks Janis. I see your point.
 
Nov 22nd, 2002, 08:06 AM
  #28  
phil
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topping
 
Nov 22nd, 2002, 10:00 AM
  #29  
Karen
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I, too, had an ambitious itinerary planned each of the 5 times I went to London. So far, I have yet to see the changing of the guard - in fact, it's a family joke now. The idea of reversing your itinerary to end in London is a great one. If not, the first day you will be lucky to see one site. Check to make sure Westminster Abbey will be open the day you want to go. My son and I missed it because the day I had carefully scheduled for the visit we got there to find it closed for a private service. It's my favorite city, at least until I return from Paris January 1. Cheerio
 
Nov 22nd, 2002, 10:36 AM
  #30  
Len
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Thanks so much Karen. I will check to make sure my sites are open on the days I have planned to see them. I am paring back to see just the Tower of London on day one. Day two I still plan on sticking to my itinerary for Westminster area, as one poster said, looking at doesn't mean I have to tour , so the list I have may mean a lot of passing by and not exploring the insides. The third day is up in the air right now...but I am thinking St. Paul's, Hyde Park, & Mayfair. I may skip the British Museum (I know...I know...but bare with me). I live in New York City, and although the British Museum may top the Metropolitan...I have seen some pretty amazing Roman and Egyptian relics and ruins and do not care to see that while I am in England. I want English History. Which I am sure is at the British Museum, but I want only to focus on that if I am to go. Thoughts?
 
Nov 22nd, 2002, 01:00 PM
  #31  
carolyn
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Len, for history lovers, the Museum of London is a real treat.
 
Nov 22nd, 2002, 01:40 PM
  #32  
Karen
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Westminster Abbey is good for a few hours, it's fascinating. The Tower of London shouldn't be missed and is also good for a few hours. You're right about the British Museum; too much for one day anyway. We went the first time, but haven't been back since. Wait until you can go to the country(s) (Egypt, for example)to see the real thing.. or at least what's left in the country of origin.
 
Nov 22nd, 2002, 02:32 PM
  #33  
Kent
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A few comments from someone who just returned from his first trip (7 days) to London:
The London Eye is worthwhile, IF it is a clear day. We got to the ticket line at 2:30 on a Saturday & the earliest we could board was 5:30 (you are supposed to be ther one half hour early). So try to buy your tickets in advance & hope for a clear day. Also go earlierin the day. 5:30 in Oct was almost too late.

Some shows are dark on Sunday.

Highly recommend the Ye Olde Chesire
Cheese. We ate dinner Downstairs and enjoyed it. Only one table has chairs, the rest have uncomfortable benches. Try to get the table.

For British history, try the British sction of the V&A Museum. It's right inside the front door , so you can find it easily, without having to wander all over.

Don't be afraid to eat at the large attractions. We found that the food was prety good, and the selection was very good.

Ceremony of the keys is also worthwhile, but you have to send for tickets several weeks before you leave.

Be sure to do the Yoeman Warder tour at the Tower of London. It's free.

enjoy!
 
Nov 22nd, 2002, 02:42 PM
  #34  
theatreBuff
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corection: "Some shows are dark on Sunday" In fact, almost ALL shows are dark on Sunday. The Lion King, Abridged Shakespeare and one or two others are the ONLY plays running on Sundays. A few fringe theatres (mostly suburban venues) have ocassional Sunday performances.
 
Nov 24th, 2002, 09:30 PM
  #35  
Russell Farquer
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Len...lost of good ideas in the responses...Will share a few with you also:
Harrods...wonderful, the food court is awesome...2-3 hours of browsing.
Speakers Corner....a must for me...was one of the most exciting times...but it takes couple hours.
York....6 hours by train...you be the judge
Driving in London/Uk....Public transportation is fun...you meet interesting people and can sight-see, and if you are going to most popular place...where's the need.
If Bath is on the schedule...you can take a day trip to Castle Combe/Bath/Stonehenge
What about Oxford???(another day trip),but interesting
Yes; The Horse Guard (seen both, changing of the guard and the horse guard)
Try Big Ben, and Whitehall in the early evening....walk around and see the buildings (10 Downing St.) Return during the day to do the tours (Westminster Abbey, War Cabinet Rooms)
Consider the "Original Tour" the double decker 'on and off' tour. Get on the first day at noon ...ticket good for 24 hrs...that first after noon just ride the bus on the tour and see the sights.
The next day use the tour to get to a couple venues...suggest the Tower of London...first thing of the day.
I admire your planning...it is fun. But like one response suggested...list the sights in order of importance. I too am seasoned traveller,, and your itenerary is ambitious. Enjoy.
 
Nov 25th, 2002, 04:20 AM
  #36  
Nigel Doran
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Great to see you're enthusiastic, but I echo what most other people are saying: slow down! Take the time to simply absorb the city by walking in the parks, browsing the shops, looking up at the architecture. Also, skip the Bath and York elements of your trip. Both are great places, but if you only have 6 days in the UK, there is enought for you to do in London and the surrounding area. (Getting a cab to Heathrow in the morning, getting the car, driving to Bath etc. could take up to three hours if the traffic is bad.)If you want to go out of town, hop on a train to Windsor. It only takes about 45 mins or less and costs little. Hampton Court is also a short way out of town.
 
Nov 25th, 2002, 08:05 AM
  #37  
Susan
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Len,
I too, depended on this forum and the "voices of experience" for our first trip to England this past August. My itinerary was ambitious since we had less than two weeks. One of the most valuable pieces of advice that I took was to leave London until the last few days of our trip. Also, you might want to select only two major attractions per day to attend (Say, the British Museum and The National Gallery). The hop-on-hop-off bus tours are a great way to get around and see the hot-spots of London. We bought our pass at our hotel.

I think your tour of the Cotswolds sounds great. But, since you'll be visiting Stratford, why not try to take in a play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and skip the London play, since you'll have more than enough to do while you're in London.

That's really all I have to offer. Your itinerary sounds wonderful ... I'd just reverse the order (and perhaps skip York).

Have a wonderful time!
 
Nov 25th, 2002, 11:22 PM
  #38  
wayne
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Len,

I, too, love to plan my tours. I'd spend days researching the best attractions to maximise my time. However, I found it most efficient to take the hop-on, hop-off open top buses when in big cities.Every attraction is included for you but you choose when you want to see it.I call it the "free-and-easy planned tour",abit of an oxymoron really.

This way I can still "see" all that I want to from the top of a bus (hehe) and alight only at those at the top of my priority list.

Having said that I hated my Bath-stonehenge tour. Travelled the whole day to spend barely an hour at the attractions, which were unattractive.

I loved Oxford and the Cotswold villages such as Burton-on-the-water. Perhaps you could cancel York and spend more time in London. Whatever you choose, do enjoy yourselves!
 
Nov 26th, 2002, 09:49 AM
  #39  
Len
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Awesome! Thank you especailly to the last several posters, your information is amazing, and I really appreciate the detailed postings about what to and what not to do. I will probably take a bus tour in London, although so many claim it to be a walker's city (meaning a great place to wander and still be able to get to the sites). Is that true? Meaning-- can I feasibly walk from Trafalgar Square to St. Pauls Cathedral or is just to long a walk? Also I will try to limit to 2 major sights per day. I may have to skip Stratford if I want to see Warwick castle in that same day. York is still up in the air. Funny thing I was at a pub here in New York City the other night and met two Englishmen. One from London and the other from Oxford...they both highly favored York and Edinburgh over the surrounding London country side (for history lovers anyway). They said I would have a wonderful time no matter where I went but it just made me excited for a second trip to Britain. Thanks again for the great responses. Len
 
Nov 26th, 2002, 10:50 AM
  #40  
Christina
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You can walk from Trafalgar Sq to St Pauls, but I doubt if you want to unless you have a lot of free time and aren't going to be walking around a lot otherwise. It's about 1-1/4 miles between those points. You could combine St Paul's with the City of London museum, they are near each other. I also recommend that museum highly for a history buff. I haven't been to the British museum in quite a few years so can't recall what's in there on that regard (I've seen Egypt in Eygpt, so didn't need it for that), but that was not one of my favorite museums in London. I particularly like the V&A, City of London and Tate (old Tate).
 

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