One Day in London

Sep 8th, 2012, 06:00 PM
  #1  
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One Day in London

After much consideration and talk on a previous thread regarding my family's first trip to Paris, we have decided, with support from the Fodorites, to take a day trip from Paris to London. We are getting Eurostar tickets and will leave Paris early in the morning and catch the last train back that evening.

So... we need just a couple of suggestions for fun things to do while we are in London. Obviously we'd like to keep ourselves not too incredibly far from the train station and would like the things we choose to do to be near each other just to save time. We are open to just about any suggestions with exception to a museum. If you know of any fun tours or walks or just cool spots to visit, we are game. We'll have a 14 and 16 year old with us who are great travelers. We are just excited for an adventure!

Thanks!
egwright10 is offline  
Sep 8th, 2012, 09:55 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Besides the Eye, which I think is totally overrated.

For new people to London who are with me, I start by taking the Tube to Covent Gardens.

When you go up the lift, you are transporated into another world. I usually have a ceremonial pint at the pub across the street.

Go to Covent Garden, just to the right, from the left to the right. Check out the various vendors. After you exit, continue staight down the street.

Check out the buskers and other folks selling stuff.

Continue on that road, heading generally left. To your right, you'll see Leicester Square, where some casinos are and cheap ticket sellers.

Continue down the original road. On your left you will see MI5, known to us as Scotland Yard. Further down on the right is 10 Downing St., where the Prime Minister lives. You can tell because of the security and chained off entrance.

As you walk the street, you will go past several theatres with hit plays. You will then see, at the end, Trafalgar Square, in honor of Lord Nelson.

At the end of the street, which deadends at the Thames, take a right. You will come to Big Ben, Winchester Abbey on the right. This is where the Royals are married.

Slightly further on the left are the Houses of Parliment.

So, in an hour or two, you've seen lots of neat and famous things. This is why I take new visitors there.

If you have a map, follow it through either Green Park or St. James Park. I don't know exactly from memory, but, if you look, you will find the famous sentry that has no reaction to tourists. You've seen him in a bunch of movies.

Continue on to Buckingham Palace. If you time things right, you might see the changing of the guard, which is very popular.

Go to the local Tube stop and head over to the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge. Both are very famous. Pay to go London Tower, a place both adults and children will love. Check out the torture chamber and the crown jewels. See the famous Beefeaters guards.

After that, you're on your own. That's a morning's worth of seeing a lot.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Sep 8th, 2012, 11:25 PM
  #3  
 
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>>Continue down the original road. On your left you will see MI5, known to us as Scotland Yard. Further down on the right is 10 Downing St., where the Prime Minister lives. You can tell because of the security and chained off entrance.

As you walk the street, you will go past several theatres with hit plays. You will then see, at the end, Trafalgar Square, in honor of Lord Nelson.

At the end of the street, which deadends at the Thames, take a right. You will come to Big Ben, Winchester Abbey on the right. This is where the Royals are married.

Continue down the original road. On your left you will see MI5, known to us as Scotland Yard. Further down on the right is 10 Downing St., where the Prime Minister lives. You can tell because of the security and chained off entrance.

As you walk the street, you will go past several theatres with hit plays. You will then see, at the end, Trafalgar Square, in honor of Lord Nelson.

At the end of the street, which deadends at the Thames, take a right. You will come to Big Ben, Winchester Abbey on the right. This is where the Royals are married.<<

That first para should come second: and Scotland Yard (now offices for MPs and Parliamentary staff) was the HQ of the Metropolitan Police, not MI5, whose main offices were deadly secret and somewhere else for a long time before they moved further down Millbank.

And it's Westminster Abbey (Winchester's a couple of hours away).

But in general that's a good suggestion for a stroll (provided you read it with a map) - getting into the parks is easy from Parliament Square: just turn right from Whitehall and walk away from Big Ben down the side street (Birdcage Walk) towards the trees. Or you can go through Admiralty Arch from Trafalgar Square.

Or you could turn left at the bottom of Whitehall, and go towards Westminster Bridge. There you can either go over the Bridge to walk along the South Bank to catch a view of St Paul's and, if you've the stamina, the Tower (maybe seeing Borough Market if you're in London on a Friday or Saturday). You could walk over the Millennium footbridge directly towards St Paul's.

But the one thing this doesn't offer is actually much time to go inside anything: so much depends on what you're interested in, and what the youngsters will tolerate (BTW, you will be passing plenty of places for a pit-stop en route, so nobody will starve).

You could just about get inside ONE thing, and one possibility might be to take the Circle Line underground from St Pancras to Tower Hill (passing a surviving piece of the Roman city wall) to the Tower of London to get there when it opens, before the crowds besiege it. Crown Jewels and plenty of armour and weapons and history both gory and romantic, for different tastes. It could take the whole morning; but you could then do the above suggested walk in the other direction.

Or you could take the circular cruise from either Sr Katharine's Pier (near the Tower) or Westminster Pier (or piers in between along the South Bank) and see some of the same sights while you rest your feet:

http://www.crownrivercruise.co.uk/tour-cruises
PatrickLondon is online now  
Sep 9th, 2012, 12:34 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 225
St Paul's Cathedral, and go up into the dome for the whispering wall. Catch a boat down the Thames to Greenwich for the timeline. Wander around Westminster Abbey and check out Big Ben too. Tower of London is great also. Look into Londonwalks website for short guided themed walks - cheap and informative. Enjoy!
rosemaryoz is offline  
Sep 9th, 2012, 09:23 AM
  #5  
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@Rastaguytoday- Wow! Thank you so much! This gives us so many things to see and we can take our time doing it to stop along the way. I appreciate the time and attention you've given in your response-we are really excited now!

@PatrickLondon- Thank you for your additional suggestions. We WILL need some places to stop indoors since we will be there over the Christmas holiday.

@rosemaryoz-I will look into the Londonwalks website, too. Thank you!
egwright10 is offline  
Sep 9th, 2012, 11:01 AM
  #6  
 
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>>since we will be there over the Christmas holiday.<<

Bear in mind that London basically shuts down from the afternoon of Christmas Eve till a slow start on the morning of the 26th.
PatrickLondon is online now  
Sep 9th, 2012, 12:25 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Depending on what you are used to the days are very short at this time of year, so consider how much outdoors activity you are doing and when. For a one day only, I would get the tube to Westminster - quick visual look at the sites there, then cross the bridge, ride the eye (i don't think its overrated), and walk the Thames southbank path up towards the Tate modern. Cross the Blackfriars bridge at you are back at a tube station. From there I'd get the tube to Tower Hill - walk around it since your time frame is short, you'll see great sights and wonderful vistas on this simple short walk. . I'm guessing you are coming from the USA - forgive me if I'm wrong - so if you go to the Tower pop into the church All Hallows at the Tower http://wp.me/p2r6no-60 - William Penn (namesake of Pennsylvannia) was baptized here, and John Adams (7th President) was married here - great little historical treasures on this items in the underground crypt there. Collectively that should give you a good visual taste of London.
albionbythesea is offline  
Sep 9th, 2012, 12:50 PM
  #8  
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@PatrickLondon- yes, we plan to spend Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the 26th in Paris. We'll have 4 days in Paris then, so we'll probably take the day trip to London on the 27th of December.

@albionbythesea- Yes, we are coming by way of the US- thank you for your suggestions. We are originally from NY but have been 15 years in the Arizona desert so we are not especially used to the short, cold days. It will be a nice change for us but we'll probably make many stops along the way to get warmed up. I like the US connections to Penn and Adams, thank you!
egwright10 is offline  

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