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Please review and comment on London Itinerary

Please review and comment on London Itinerary

Old May 8th, 2017, 06:51 PM
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Please review and comment on London Itinerary

Hi, this is my family's first time in London - we are mom, dad and three young adult children aged 18 - 22. We will be there 4-1/2 days and want to hit the highlights. I have done some research and put together a proposed itinerary. Can you please review and offer your comments? Much appreciated!

Day 1 – arrive from US at 9am
Hotel – rest
Regents Park
Lunch – Camden Market
Tower Bridge
Dinner at Covent Gardens

Day 2-
Cliffs of Dover or Hampton Court

Day 3-
Buckingham Palace
Changing of the Guards
Stables
Westminster Abby
Big Ben
Parliament
Soho – dinner

Day 4-
Saint Paul’s Cathedral
National Gallery
Trafalgar Square
British Museum (top 10)
Dinner

Day 5-
Tower of London or Churchill War Room
Lunch
St Pancras Station – Train for Paris leaves at 4:00 (be there at 3:00)

Need to still find time for:
Harrods
London Eye
British Library (maybe)
Sky Garden (maybe)
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Old May 8th, 2017, 07:34 PM
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Random comments: You actually really only have 3.5 usable days (not counting your arrival day -- and one of those you want to leave town.

Day 1 has you ALL over the place. And you are trying to squeeze in Tower Bridge when you will be right there on Day 5 when you visit the Tower. With a 9AM arrival (at LHR? ) you likely will be at you hotel by about noon. So (assuming your room is ready) after cleaning up and 'rest', exploring Regents Parks and then to Camden Market will make for a VERY late lunch.

I would NOT travel to Dover on day 2 (you will have been traveling for about 1.5 days just getting to London and then the next day want to spend another full day traveling?

Hampton Court makes a great half day trip, but maybe not on Day 2, but later in your stay. Maybe flip days 2 and 3?

Day 3 - the only 'go inside and visit' sites on you list are the Royal Mews (interesting but maybe not in the top tier of London Attractions) and Westminster Abbey. Everything else is a 'walk by'. And I would 100% skip the Changing of the Guard. It takes nearly 3 hours - the first two of which are just standing holding your place.

Day 4 has you all over town again. Why not put the National Gallery on Day 3 since Trafalgar Sq is not far from the Palace/Abbey/Big Ben.

Day 5 Could be difficult - where are you staying? Because you will either have to go back to the hotel to retrieve your bags, or will have to go to St Pancras to store your luggage first before heading out to the Tower.

The Eye, Harrods, and Sky Garden (need to book well ahead) can all be done in the evening so you could do them any day.

The british library is a very short walk from St Pancras.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 11:02 PM
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With all the things to do in London I would not go all the way to Dover to see the cliffs. No way. Nice as it is, I would also skip Regents Park due to time constraints. Before you decide on the London Eye, check the weather for that day. If it's raining or foggy you won't see much.

Your itinerary seems very crowded, you need to allow time to get to places, you are bound to get lost now and then which also takes time. The day you arrive you may be very tired and just feel like a walk to explore and some food.

Why not pick one main thing each you want to see and anything else is a bonus?

Kay
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Old May 8th, 2017, 11:52 PM
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You have some very good advice above. Janisj is right about 3.5 days so on day 1 your room might not be ready when you arrive at the hotel. Find out if it will be possible to store your luggage and go out for the afternoon.

Hampton Court makes a very good day trip out of London but as the others have suggested do that later in your stay. Camden Market is north of the British Museum and British Library which makes a logical grouping. There are lots of little restaurants in the streets near the British Museum.

When we went to Hampton Court I think we took the train from Waterloo. When you return it's an easy tube ride to Covent Garden. You could shop a little and have dinner.

Tower of London and the War Rooms are can't miss sights for me. The Tower is not too far from St. Paul's (one of my favorite places in London) so could be paired. War Rooms are near Westminster Abbey.

Depending on when you are in London it could be crowded so you have to account for wait times to get in or to get to see the works you want to see in a museum or to explore Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey. And of course there's travel time to include.

St. Pancras has lots of shops and restaurants so you might have a late lunch before your train.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 09:22 AM
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FWIW, I've learned that it is very difficult to see more than two "big" things a day--one before and one after lunch. But you can group smaller things (or "walk bys") and see them with the bigger things.

E.g. Westminster Abbey is a big thing but Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament are smaller things (i.e. "walk bys").


So if you get a map of London and group things in that manner, you can see more.

Concur with not going to Dover. Whether or not you have time to go to Hampton Court Palace in the amount of time you have depends on your priorities.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 11:47 AM
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There's a lot of need for you to regroup your activities based on location.

Day 1 – arrive from US at 9am
Hotel – rest
Regents Park
Lunch – Camden Market
Tower Bridge
Dinner at Covent Gardens


Covent Garden is singular. Tower Bridge is completely across London from Camden Market. And the bridge is a bloody bridge - you can see it when you go to the Tower.

Day 2-
Cliffs of Dover or Hampton Court


Dover is a long ride if you don't hop a fast train. Thinking the cliffs are really more a quick photo op than a 4-ish hour RT detour. And if you're really trying to find time for certain activities, you should ditch the day out of town and spend it in London.

Day 3-
Buckingham Palace
Changing of the Guards
Stables
Westminster Abby
Big Ben
Parliament
Soho – dinner


Changing of the Guards is a waste of time - if you want to see a moving and notable changing ceremony, go to Arlington CemetEry. The British one is just pomp and show tunes for the tourists. Plus, you need to get to the Palace early and crowd forward to see the festivities that won't occur for hours. Other than Westminster Abbey, every other item on this day's list is a walk-by. You CAN do the War Rooms this day because they are close to where you'll be.

Day 4-
Saint Paul’s Cathedral
National Gallery
Trafalgar Square
British Museum (top 10)
Dinner


Bounce bounce bounce - you go from the eastern end of Central London to the dead center to the northern end. Try doing St Paul's and the Tower today and then the National Gallery and British Museum (and Library) the next day - the latter two are a short ride up the Northern Line from Embankment, which is basically the closest station to Trafalgar Sq.

Day 5-
Tower of London or Churchill War Room
Lunch
St Pancras Station – Train for Paris leaves at 4:00 (be there at 3:00)

Need to still find time for:
Harrods
London Eye
British Library (maybe)
Sky Garden (maybe)


Tower of London and Churchill War Rooms should both be on the definite list, not the maybe.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 05:19 PM
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Thanks to everybody for their insightful comments! Planning this trip for me has been somewhat like planning a trip to the moon. I have no idea where everything is - even when looking on a map its hard to judge logistics. I have taken many of your comments and reworked the itinerary doing a lot of regrouping as BigRuss suggested and eliminated Dover which was pretty much unanimous. I took dwdvag's suggestion and labelled things that are BIG and walk-by's to make sure I have no more than 2 big things a day. Question though - dwdvag mentioned that Parliament is a walk-by. Does this mean that it's not really worth the tour with my limited time? Please see below - the assumption is that we would be at the first BIG thing every morning right when they open. I would appreciate your continued critiquing.

Monday, May 22 – arrive from US plane lands at 9:00 am
Hotel – rest –early check-in assured
Regents Park
Harrods

Tuesday, May 23rd
Saint Paul’s – BIG
Lunch
Tower Bridge – WALK BY
Tower of London - BIG
Dinner

Wednesday, May 24th
Westminster Abbey - BIG
Buckingham Palace – WALK BY
Big Ben – WALK BY
Lunch
Parliament – WALK BY
Churchill War Room - BIG
Dinner

Thursday, May 25th
Hampton Court – BIG
Lunch - Covent Gardens – the Big Easy
National Gallery – BIG
Dinner


Friday, May 26th (bring or store carry-ons)
British Museum (top 10) – BIG
Trafalgar Square – WALK BY
Lunch – Camden Market
British Library – quick depending on time
Grab picnic dinner for train ride
St Pancras Station – Train leaves at 4:00 (be there at 3:00)

tentative:
London Eye – depending on weather
Sky Garden
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Old May 9th, 2017, 06:07 PM
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Old May 9th, 2017, 06:16 PM
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>>Does this mean that it's not really worth the tour with my limited time? extremely crowded and it could be tough w/ jet lag.

On Tuesday -- rearrange thing and do the Tower (and thus Tower Bridge) very first thing in the morning. The Tower just gets progressively more crowded as the day progresses and getting there just before opening time is how you avoid the queues. Then after lunch (eat lunch at the Tower to save time) head to St Paul's.

Thursday: Big problem here. There is no way in H#LL you can visit Hampton Court Palace and have lunch at Covent Garden. You will spend at least 3 hours at the Palace - and it takes about an hour to get back to central London. Have lunch at the Palace. Then dash back to town on the train in mid afternoon and have a couple of hours for the National Gallery. Then have dinner in Covent Garden afterwards.

On Friday >>Friday, May 26th (bring or store carry-ons)
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Old May 10th, 2017, 04:37 AM
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Thank you janisj. These comments are very helpful!I do not have Parlaiment booked and frankly are not interested in politics much (I hate it in the US anyways) so if we are sticking to "must see's" Im guessing that this should just be a walk-by form the outside? Doyou agree?

Also do you think Sky garden is worth seeing? We are avoiding the Shard because it is too expensive and I was surprised the Sky garden is free. That really why it made it on the list but not sure if its worth he time spent.

Do any other day look undo-able or inefficient?
btw we have a friend going to Regents college who said he could store the bulk of our luggage in his dorm room while in Paris. So we are just bringing carry ons on the train.

Thanks again I look forward to your response.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 05:29 AM
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Just a BTW: If you're interested in a tour of Buckingham Palace, the best and easiest time for tix, which can be obtained through a hotel concierge, is during the changing of the guard ceremony.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 07:40 AM
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vincenzo32951: Touring Buckingham Palace is NOT an option -- the OP is traveling this month and the palace is not open to the public.

jkapoian: Walking past Parliament is your only option -- tickets for the tour typically need to be booked well ahead. So don't give it another thought.

Re the Sky Garden -- as I said you need to prebook the tickets and none may be available for your times. And . . if the weather is nasty you won't have nice views so your pre-booked times may be wasted.

The Eye will give you the views. (decide on the day depending on the weather and then you can pre book for the Eye on-line or by phone. If the weather is decent, go in the early evening - it will still be daylight)

>>So we are just bringing carry ons on the train.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 08:45 AM
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> As well as options at the Palace, there is a street (Bridge Road)close to the Palace which has 3/4 very good local restaurants for lunch, namely, Mezzet (Lebanese, IMO extremely good), Mezzet Dar (wonderful tapas and cocktails), Le Petit Nantais and Henry's Kitchen. Also right opposite the main entrance gates to the Palace is The Mute Swan pub, which is recommended.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 08:49 AM
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Covent Garden is still singular (;-)).

If your lodging is near Regent's Park, You may be better off going to Selfridges.

Are you set on Harrod's because it's THE London department store whose name you know? Or do you have a specific purpose in mind?

Fact is Fortnum's and Selfridges both have big food halls. You can blow your life savings pretty easily at any of the big ones and of the ten on this list, Harrod's is the furthest from Regent's Park.

http://www.visitlondon.com/things-to...stMJX0ecXib.97
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Old May 10th, 2017, 09:15 AM
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>>If your lodging is near Regent's Park, . . .are you staying? Could make a big difference what you can do on your arrival day.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 04:02 PM
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So relieved that I cant get tickets to Buckingham Palace or Parliament because I was getting stressed that that day would be too busy!

Im not committed to Harrods. One of those - Id like to say Ive been there - things. I will check out Selfrigdges and Fortnums. We are staying in a hotel right near Regents Park and we know a student there so that is why we thought walking around Regents park would be a good day 1 activity. I dont know how tired we'll be but I feel like we can fit a little more in Day 1. Not sure though.

I might book a time at Sky Garden and if we can make it we make it and if not then thats ok. The Eye is a definite though but I agree we'll have to wait and see on weather.

BigRuss - oh I finally picked up your comment about Covent Garden. I thought you were trying to tell me it was one of a kind lol!
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Old May 10th, 2017, 04:17 PM
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One more BIG question please!!! The only thing I have pre-booked is Westminster Abbey. Is there anything else I need to pre-book (other than the London Eye which we will do on the day of.)
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Old May 10th, 2017, 04:25 PM
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Also unless Im reading it wrong - St Pauls is only open to visitors until 2:00. This may not work out well since we are now goingg in the afternoon...
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Old May 10th, 2017, 04:31 PM
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Nothing else you need to pre-book.

>> St Pauls is only open to visitors until 2:00.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 04:57 PM
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I don't think you should miss St Paul's.

We were there again February, and as we entered, a docent pushed hard for us to come along on the guided tour (free). I might not have, but she pushed so we did. It was worth every moment. Great information, hidden corners, lots of history. Very nice tour.
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