Quick sights of London Help needed

Apr 22nd, 2005, 02:55 AM
  #1  
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Quick sights of London Help needed

Hi Will be in London for our 1st time end of May! Travelling with two teenagers. Have a list of places of interest and was hoping to get some feedback. After our first night (expecting Jetlag from a 24hr flight!) We will have two full days and nights to discover a small part of London, then off to Brusells. This is our list of things we would like to visit.
Madame Tussauds (5.00pm Booking)
London Eye (Ticket purchased)
Tower of London
Buckingham palace
Big Ben
Hyde Park
Greenwich
St Pauls Cathedral
London Bridge
Oxford & Regent Street (Shopping)
Speakers corner
River Thames
Westminster Abbey
any feedback appeciated. We will be staying out at the Docklands area. Also like to get in a market somehere. We are there on a Wednesday and Thursday.
thanks in advance.
gingerpot is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2005, 03:42 AM
  #2  
 
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I too am taking my first trip to London mid may and will be traveling with my 19 yo daughter. Your list looks ambitous...I'm interested in whatever feedback you get!
msangie824 is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2005, 04:28 AM
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Well you probably aren't going to get to all of that list in two days. London is quite large and it takes a while to get from place to place, even using the tube or buses. And I would suggest buses whenever possible cause you get to see where you are going and riding in the top of a doubler decker London bus is a great experience. Many people suggest the hop on hop off buses for first timers but I really think the regular buses are just as good and far less expensive.

Actually, the two things I'd drop from the list are the two you already have booked - Madame Tussauds and the London Eye. Both have had long lines every time I've been near them and that will eat up a lot of your time. Plus I just don't think they are that worth while. But that's just my opinion.

The "River Thames" is not a destination, it's there, you won't be able to help seeing it. Same for Big Ben. I assume what you mean is to walk around that area, which is definitly a highlight. And if you do the London Eye you'll be there anyway. While you are in that area would be the time to do Westminster Abbey. When I was there last month there were long lines several times when I went by. I would suggest you go when it opens. A few years ago I went at opening time and there were no lines and it was pleasantly uncrowded.

Hyde Park is a beautiful park, and would definitly be worth walking through in May. Speaker's Corner only "happens" on Sunday mornings so you can scratch that from your list.

The Tower is absolutely wonderful, don't miss that whatever you do, but keep in mind that it's large and takes several hours to see it. The bridge is right next to it and most people say going inside it (the "experience") is a waste of time.

I also really like Greenwich, and since you are staying in Docklands you are closer to it, but keep in mind that it will take a while to see also.

I would read up some more and decide which of the things on your list you could do without. Otherwise I really think you'll be very frustrated trying to do it all. And by the way, I'm one who does cover huge amounts of territory on vacation, some of my friends and family won't even travel with me anymore because they say I do "too much". You need some time to enjoy walking from place to place and just being in London. Like I think shopping on Oxford Street is a good idea with teenagers, but it will take time.

Good luck, you'll love London whatever you end up doing.
isabel is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2005, 04:49 AM
  #4  
 
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Gingerpot, if you did take up the booking at the Marriott, may I suggest that you use the Thames Clipper boat service from Canary Wharf for one of your trips into (or more likely back from) the centre. www.thamesclippers.com

I'd put the Tower pretty high on the priority list, to do early in the day (before the crowds build up): from the Marriott, the simplest thing to do is take the DLR from right beside the hotel to Tower Gateway (you may need to take a Bank train and change at one of the intermediate stations - just wait on the same platform). From there you can get a bus to St Paul's.

London Bridge itself is of no great interest beyond watching the swarms of commuters walking over it, and you can see those from the boat.

For the London Eye, you take the Jubilee Line from Canary Wharf to Waterloo. From there it's a simple walk to Westminster and through the park to Buckingham Palace and on to Hyde Park Corner, where you could take a bus for Oxford St or Regent St (or you could do it the other way around depending on the time you've booked the Eye).

Greenwich is a short DLR ride away from Canary Wharf (get off at Cutty Sark station, not Greenwich), but if you've only got two days, this might be the one to drop since it takes you in the other direction from the other areas you're interested in - unless, perhaps, you take a boat back to Greenwich for a quick look in the late afternoon (but the last boats tend to leave around 5) and take the DLR back to Canary Wharf from there - or you could get there by train from London Bridge, if you were doing it that way round.

Not quite sure what sort of market you're looking for, but I can't think of any open mid week other than a few stalls around Berwick St and Rupert St in Soho, which aren't anything special. Speaker's Corner is only on a Sunday, so there won't be anything to see there.
PatrickLondon is online now  
Apr 22nd, 2005, 05:47 AM
  #5  
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Thanks This makes it a lot easier. There is just so much to see in such a short time. Speakers corner is now out! Will be staying at the Marriott. Worked out cheaper for us. Have paid for the London eye and Madam Tussauds so will have to go. Will take the Thames Clipper boat service from Canary Wharf. Do they have a website for times etc? Any suggestions for eating out (not too expensive as aussie dollar is sad against the GBP! Also any recommendations for somewhere close to the Marriott for the girls to do some dancing, music a couple of drinks? Markets also appear to be off our list.
Another question. How early should i leave the docklands area to get to Waterloo station to catch the eurostar to Brusells? Train leaves around 8.30am?
I think this is an excellent forum and have been reading all the post for the last two months, a wonderful way to get accurate information quickly.
thanks so much!
gingerpot is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2005, 07:12 AM
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If you've booked for the London Eye, then that's fine. It's an enjoyable experience.
I'd forget about Madame Tussauds myself.

I'd definitely go for the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey. You'll see the Houses of Parliament and the Clock Tower.
Big Ben is actually the big bell inside the tower. If you're around on the hour, you'll hear him bonging the hours. I'd try to visit the British Museum too.
If you want to see Greenwich and the Thames, you can do both by going to Greenwich by river.
For shopping, I'd go to Spitalfields Market. The teenagers will prefer it to other London markets.
MissPrism is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2005, 07:28 AM
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For something to do at night, I highly recommend the London Walks tours. In the past I've taken the Jack the Ripper tour and the Haunted London tour. The guides are excellent and very knowledgable. I'm not sure what the price is today; my last tour was in 2000 and was about 10 pounds. London Walks brochures are available in tube stations, which is where I found mine, and I'm sure your hotel will be familiar with it also. They also have some excellent day trips, but since you have such a busy schedule you may want to look into that for your next trip - you'll almost definitely want to go back. Have a great trip - it sounds like fun.
Poohgirl is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2005, 07:37 AM
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I had thought that a visit to Madame Tussaud's would be a waste of time, but my college student daughter said it was the one attraction she really wanted to see. It apparently features prominently in some horror fiction that she favors. She enjoyed it greatly, and I found it somewhat diverting.
Nikki is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2005, 07:56 AM
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I'm going to take a leap here and assume you did not mean London Bridge. there are many bridges over the Thames and London Bridge is the very ugliest, least interesting. Did you mean Tower Bridge? For some reason many visitors think Tower Bridge is called London Bridge.

Anyway - when you go to the Tower you will see it - can't miss it in fact.

Several of the sites you mention are "walk by's" rather than visit/tour. B'ham Palace, Big Ben, the river, etc. So when you get to the actual meat of your list it really isn't that long.

It is too bad you have already bought tix to the Eye - The Eye is wonderful but you should ride it on a nice day. Not usually a good idea to buy tix in advance in case it is raining when you have booked.

Madame Tussauds would not be on most people's "A-list" - but I actually think it is fun (but I wouldn't go there if I had to drop some other biggie). The good thing is you booked at 5 p.m. - so it won't take much time away from other sightseeing. Many places close at 5:30 or 6 p.m. so a 5 o'clock anyway, so booking is a good use of the time.

You're right, your first day will be tiring - but you will probably feel good enough to take one of the hop-on-hop-off double decker bus tours. That way you can at least see most of the major sites - and get off anywhere you want and get back on another bus.
janis is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2005, 08:15 AM
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sheesh - I should preview! That should say "Many places close at 5:30 or 6 p.m. anyway so a 5 o'clock booking is a good use of your limited time."
janis is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2005, 08:18 AM
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I second getting from place to place on the city buses. Here's your map:

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/pdfdocs/cen_bus.pdf


You'll probably want to travel on a Family Travelcard that gives you unlimited transport on the Tube and buses. If you fly into Heathrow, get one for Zones 1-6 and you're set for that day. The "touring" days only require Zones 1-2 cards. The specifics are at

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/fares-tick...rd-day-3.shtml
Robespierre is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2005, 10:25 AM
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I had a two day layover in London last year. I noticed you didn't mention the London dungeons. They are very interesting. Speakers corner is in Hyde Park and that won't take you long to see. Buckingham Palace is nice but I wouldn't wait in line to go in. Just take pictures from the outside. Also, Big Ben is cool to see but won't take a lot of time. Must see is the Tower of London and London Eye. Everything else is icing. Another option would be to take a tour on an open top double decker bus. That is cool.
syclark is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2005, 12:16 PM
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You've gotten some good and varied advice already. My "two pence worth" is to drop:

>Madame Tussaud's (gee, if you've already paid for it, I suppose it DOES give you a late afternoon venue)

>Shopping on Oxford and Regent street (IMHO, you can shop anywhere, but you can only see the sights of London in one place...and your time is really limited)

>Hyde Park (it is huge, substitute smaller St. James's Park in conjunction with seeing Westminster Abbey/Big Ben/Parliament)

Other:

>Buckingham Palace (you can't tour it in May...you can walk by or see the guard ceremony, if you wish)

>If your time is limited, you will have to make some other choices. Don't shortchange the Tower of London, as others have noted. You might have to decide between St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey.(I would choose the Abbey, if push came to shove).

Enjoy your visit...you'll soon know just how much too short two days is for seeing London, and hopefully plan a return visit!

Dave White
[email protected]
And, if pressed for time, you might have to pick between

KidsToLondon is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2005, 12:27 PM
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I too would have suggested skipping Madame Tussauds (although teens will probably enjoy it) and London Eye (ditto). I'd also skip Buckingham Palace and unless you're there Sunday morning, there's nothing happening at Speakers' Corner (it's definitely interesting - but there's so much else that I wouldn't make it high on the list). For a first-timer, I'd suggest Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's, all of which are on your list. But I'd add the Cabinet War Rooms - my daughter, who was a 10th grader at the time, loved them, as did her father and I. Quite fascinating. If you're into art, the National Gallery (free) is definitely worth a peek. And you might want to try one of the London Walks - perhaps the Jack the Ripper one or maybe one of the ghost walks. And, of course, tops on the list should be a play/musical! (And by the way, I think it's Tower Bridge you want to see, not London Bridge - and if you go to the Tower of London, it's right there.) Have a great time.
Karen
althom1122 is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2005, 12:28 PM
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I have a vote in for the tour at the Houses of Parliament; it was one of the highlights of my trip there last year, up there with the Tower. For a not too expensive place to eat, there's a chain called Pizza Express that is much nicer than it sounds - I was pleasantly surprised. They have more than just pizza on the menu and it is more like a regular restaurant than a pizzeria.
RobinBinNYC is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2005, 12:34 PM
  #16  
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I honestly wouldn't visit the London Dungeon. It's one of those "for tourists only places", like a second rate Madame Tussauds.
You be far better visiting the Tower of London which is genuine, ancient and has plenty of gory tales if that's what you want.
 

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