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Preliminary London Itinerary: feed back appreciated

Preliminary London Itinerary: feed back appreciated

Jun 1st, 2008, 08:40 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 35
Preliminary London Itinerary: feed back appreciated

Hi everyone. My first overseas trip is coming up in about 10 days and am very excited. I have looked at several travel books and read through many advice postings here and elsewhere.

This is preliminary, very little is cut in stone; but this is a first trip so there are doubtless countless things I do not know!

Friday am

Arrive Heathrow before 7 am. Get thru customs and plan to arrange a hired car ahead of time to meet us and take us to hotel near the Tower for 4 nights.

Check in, do the Hop On Hop Off tour and see Evensong at Westminster at 5 and then retire early (jet lag).

Saturday: Tower of London (crown jewels first as advised here) and perhaps St. James Park to maybe catch sight of the Queen's Trooping the Colours. Might go see Borough Market.

St. Paul's Cathedral

Ceremony of the Keys (have tickets)

Sunday: Church, perhaps at the Tower chapel, Spitalfield's Market, The Globe, perhaps see a play there.

Monday: Shopping. Harrod's, Marks & Spencer, pass through Kings Cross for a Platform 3/4 photograph and see the Magna Carta at the Library nearby.

Tuesday: Open. Check out of hotel, check in at hotel in Windsor.

Wednesday: Hop on Hop off tour, Windsor Castle

Thursday: to Heathrow nearly at sunrise for flight home after 8 am. Probably going to hire another car to come get us and take us to Heathrow.


Tried to keep lots of open time for spontaneity. Would like to have a British Tea someplace but didn't really want to spend $75 at Fortnum & Masons, any suggestions? Would like to find a book for a young teen marketed to British boys.

Also thinking about a day trip to Stonehenge for one of the days.

The only thing we have tickets to is the Ceremony of the keys; and would like to see a play at the Globe.

Bought an unlocked phone on ebay wiht a sim card (total $26 includes $10 in call time) so can be in touch with those at home.

Have advised credit card co about travel plans to cards will work overseas. Have some British funds available for incidentals.

Am intimidated by the public transportation as we do not have it much where we live in the States.

Any suggestions for improvement would be gratefully appreciated. Very excited to see the history in London!

Thanks in advance for your help.

Lindathenurse is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 09:11 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,018
Just a couple of quick comments -

If you go to the Tower on Saturday AM, there is no way you'll get to the Mall in time to see the Procession to/from the Trooping. which is in the morning. Plus that is all the way across London so even IF you could (which you can't) - you'd then be traveling all the way back across to Borough Mkt and then zigging back to St Paul's. Just not doable.

And - I'd forget about the H-o-H-o bus in Windsor. the main things to see in Windsor are the Castle (and the bus does not travel inside the castle), the river, and Eton -- all of which are walking distance from each other.
janisj is online now  
Jun 1st, 2008, 11:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,998
If you are concerned about the price of a tea...I suggest you price out the cost of each of your planned activities. The London bus and underground are simple to use and ought be a part of your English experience. London Tourist offices offer 'real' information and suggestions for touring.
GSteed is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2008, 04:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,847
Do you have time to buy/have access to a good map of London? I have found it so helpful to have one big enough to see stuff and then map out itineraries by neighborhood; as Janisj says, your Tower day ideas would have you zigzagging all over the city. I think you'll master the Tube fast, but you don't want to spend all your time on it weaving all over town. If you note on a map, Borough Market is right across the river from the Tower, then you could stroll along the Thames to Millineum Bridge, walk across it to St. Paul's, then back toward your hotel and go to the Keys thing later. This would make much better use of your time that day, I think.

Also, you might check on Globe tickets. I ordered mine in Feb for a July showing and many many seats were already gone. I've heard there're almost always "groundling" tickets to have on the day of, but do you want to stand? Check out the website before you go perhaps. (My tickets got lost in the mail and new ones are going to be held for me at the ticket office, so you could perhaps arrange to pick them up there, rather than have them mailed.) Anyway, if this is a priority, you might want to check availability before you go.

Also check with British Library. The Magna Carta there was off display earlier; I THINK scheduled date to redisplay was June, but not sure. Do you have time for the British Museum? DEFINITELY a must (and you'll see it's sorta between the Tower and the Library, so in "your" neighborhood.)

Stonehenge is great--will take a whole day of your time, of course. If you decide to do this, there are ways to combine it with Salisbury and/or Bath, also WONDERFUL; check out tours or public transport. (We're planning on train to Salisbury and bus from there to and from Stonehenge, but I already have rail tickets.)

texasbookworm is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2008, 05:03 AM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,025
Just in London and our hired car was late both pickups....WE almost missed our train. SO allow more than enough time. WE prefer to be early .... allowed time for that but our car was 40 minutes late...
joebear is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2008, 05:55 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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You can do a more reasonably priced tea at places like Richoux. Some museums also have teas, though they won't have the same ambiance of F&M etc.

Not sure exactly where you'll be staying, but the area around Tower Bridge gets quiet after dark and also on weekends. It is a safe area, but not much going on after the office workers leave.
W9London is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2008, 05:56 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Actually I meant to say after office hours, say like 7pm. This is because it doesn't get dark till after 9pm!

As for books geared for teen boys, I'd check big bookstores like Waterstone or Books etc.
W9London is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2008, 07:36 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,180
A few comments:

If you're in Spitalfields Market, see if Dennis Severs House is open on that Sunday. It's interesting and probably the teenage boy will enjoy it. Also nearby is Brick Lane - if you're into that sort of market.

The better preserved copy of the Magna Carta is off display right now (as of 1 week ago) but the fire-damaged copy is still on view at the British LIbrary.
yk is online now  
Jun 2nd, 2008, 07:49 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 35
Thanks so much everyone! When I posted that last night, I went back and added in the St. James thing not really knowing precisely where that was. Now I know it's clear across town. I'll need to rethink that.

Bookworm: "Borough Market is right across the river from the Tower, then you could stroll along the Thames to Millineum Bridge, walk across it to St. Paul's, then back toward your hotel and go to the Keys thing later. This would make much better use of your time that day, I think." Great suggestion. I have ordered the London A-Z and it's in the mail to me now; I also have the 2008 Lonely Planet guide with a map.

The British Museum is a good suggestion and it's nearby, we might pop in. Thanks. Will also check with the British Library.

Janisj: Thanks for the tip on Windsor, I think we'll plan to walk it. The Trooping would have been nice to see but not a requirement; unless we move the Tower day to MOnday and do the Trooping.

Joebear: Scary thought. The car hire to the airport is going to be about 5 am. Maybe we'll take a taxi from Windsor to Heathrow. Anyone know the price?

Checking on Globe tickets this week. We'll see what there is.

W9: I've read it's pretty quiet where we're at, but that's ok. I am traveling with an older female friend and we aren't really in to the nightlife anyhow. We will need to eat though, but my tour guide says there are places to eat in the evenings...do you agree?

I just read about the sunset after 9 pm, that was a surprise! I'll ask at the bookstore about books for my boy when I find one; thanks.

In terms of Tea, we'll I guess find one someplace; the museums is a good idea.

In terms of costs, that is my next question. I am pointing and clicking trying to find discounts and 2 for 1s. One of us is a senior citizen. Buying some of the tickets ahead of time online is probably cheaper. Any other suggestions?

Thanks so very much for all of your help! Very kind of you all!

Lindathenurse is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2008, 08:00 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,180
I used the Lonely Planet 2008 for London last week, and I thought it's pretty good.

I don't think it's necessary to buy tickets in advance. The 2-for-1 offer is valid for Tower of London.

I think you can buy advance tickets for Windsor Castle - and there's a separate entrance for those w/advance tickets. But if you arrive there just before opening time (9:45am) you can just queue up for your tickets.
yk is online now  
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