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There Nights in London - Lodging, Tour, Places

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Jul 23rd, 2014, 04:20 PM
  #1
BPN
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There Nights in London - Lodging, Tour, Places

Hello Everyone,

We will spend 3 nights in London (arrive 11AM Oct 5 and leaving Noon Oct 8). It's not a lot of time especially this is our first time (we want to get a taste of London, Paris, Venice this time and hopefully we'll be back to explore more in future year).

We are looking for more information/specificity for the below items. Any suggestion/pointer is appreciated:

1. Lodging: given the short time, we would like to stay in the center near most of the attractions. Our price range is ~120-160 EUR. Which area we should stay in? Which hotel?
2. What's the best option to get from LHR to the city?
3. Sight: Buckingham Palace, London Eye, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower of London. Do you have any additional suggestion?
4. Tour: We'd like to do an evening cruise on the Thame. Do you know any good tour that take us though major landmarks
5. Food: We want to stop by a pub. Also want a nicer romantic dinner. Do you know a good restaurant?

Did we miss any "must" item?

Thank you in advance for all your help,
BPN
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 04:38 PM
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First of all you do not have 3 days and will be fortunate to have 2.5 days actually free. Are you flying in? If so you will be lucky to check in to your hotel by 2PM. And later is very possible -- and w/ the jet lag that day will be pretty much a wash.

Are you taking the Eurostar to Paris? If so you'll have to be at St Pancras by 11:15. So maybe a couple of hours free in the morning.

1: No one area is close to all or even a lot of the sites. €120 is less than £100 (I assume you know they don't use € in the UK). That is pretty low for London. €160 is a bit better but still only about £125 and pretty low.

2: Partly depends on where you are staying. The two 'best' are generally the Tube - cheap and around 1 hour to get to most central areas. And a pre-booked car service -- more expensive but much easier if you have luggage since it is door to door and no schlepping. Around an hour or a bit longer. justairports.com is a good one.

3: There are MANY to choose from - those 4 are among the most Popular. I'd personally put Westminster Abbey slightly above St Pauls but both are magnificent. Buckingham Palace is strictly a 'walk by'.

4: The river trips don't take you 'through' any landmarks -- they simply cruise up and down river. Few run night tours - they mostly stop around 6 or 7 PM (Later trips are generally expensive dinner cruises)

5: There are (literally) thousands. What is your budget and what sort of food/ambience do you like.

>>Did we miss any "must" item?<<

Ask 10 people and you'll get 10 different lists of 'musts'. Most would include the Tower of London and at least one of the major museums.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 04:50 PM
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Westminster Abbey. www.westminster-abbey.org British Museum.

For St. Paul's try to walk all the way to the top. I'm older so when I got up to the Whispering Gallery I sat and rested for a few minutes before heading to the top. Great views.
The London Eye was ok. It was something my husband wanted to do. If the day is clear you will have some nice views.
I loved the Tower of London. Can easily spend hours there. The Crown Jewels-oh my!

Pubs
Don't know if these are still around-Lamb & Flag, Blackfriars, The Anchor was near Shakespeare's Globe Theater I think, Bunch of Grapes, Moon Under Water, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.

Restaurants
Maybe check out www.toptable.co.uk

For lodging the most important thing IMO is location to a tube station. We stayed in S. Kensington area-5 minute walk to Gloucester Rd. station. We were able to connect to District, Circle, Piccadilly lines-could get anywhere.

I think I arranged for a car to pick us up at Heathrow. Just google getting to London center from Heathrow. Same for the river cruises-just use google search.

For some reason we never got to do a tour of Buckingham Palace. We walked through a park and happened upon it so I took pictures. It's on my must see list for our 2015 trip.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 05:07 PM
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>>For some reason we never got to do a tour of Buckingham Palace. <<

The Palace is open for tours only during Aug and Sept each year (It may slip a bit into July and Oct depending on where the weekends fall - but basically Aug and Sept)

I personally wouldn't google for a car service - there are a lot of shady or expensive outfits. There are two or three that are regularly recommended by Fodorites. justairports.com is about the cheapest and is very reliable.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 06:11 PM
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London hotels are more expensive for something decent than Paris and the city is MUCH bigger - so to get near the center will cost more. Be sure wherever you stay is within a couple of blocks of a tube station since you will need it a lot.

For food you need to provide a budget and preferred cuisines.

for sights - I could give you a list of about 30 MUSTS - so again look at a couple of reliable guidebooks to see what YOU have to see. If possible do a West End show one evening.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 06:20 PM
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We like to stay near the Gloucester Road tube stop in South Kensington. There are three tube lines available from there, so you can get anywhere in the city easily. We have stayed at a flat, the Millennium Bailey's Hotel, the Millennium Gloucester, and the Park International. The latter is the cheapest and includes breakfast, and we have it booked again for our upcoming trip this fall.

Above the tube stop there is a good Waitrose grocery and an ASK pizza restaurant. Just up Cromwell Road is a Sainsbury grocery, across the street is an Indian restaurant we liked, and it is walking distance to the Victoria & Albert Museum and Harrod's.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 06:42 PM
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Some more links from my notebook from our 2008 trip.

www.london-eating.co.uk

www.365tickets.com click on united kingdom under destinations
www.ticketmaster.co.uk
www.londontheatredirect.com
seetickets.com
whatsonstage.com
theatremonkey.com
There's a kiosk in Leicester Square where you can get 1/2 price tickets the day of.

www.andersontours.co.uk
www.internationalfriends.co.uk
www.gotostonehenge.co.uk

www.visitbritian.com
www.visitlondon.com

www.2for1entry.co.uk these are both the same sites under different names
www.daysoutguide.co.uk

Thanks janisj. I couldn't find the name of the car hire that picked us up in my old notebook. This info will come in handy for my 2015 trip!
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 06:44 PM
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Try Celtic Hotel, formerly St. Margaret's: http://www.stmargaretshotel.co.uk/W_e_l_c_o_m_e.html
Shared bathrooms, if you opt for that economy level, are kept very clean, and there's a great breakfast included. My fastidious daughter and I love that place, and it's just off several bus lines. The Picadilly Line from LHR stops right there at Russell Sq.

Otherwise, I'd look on tripadvisor.com under their "B&B hotels" classification in Bloomsbury area. There are several highly rated ones in your price range. We prefer these homey hotels, enjoy English breakfast with the other guests.

The Thames Clipper isn't a tour, but it's a fun speedy way to clip past landmarks and under bridges into the evening. No commentary.
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Jul 24th, 2014, 10:43 AM
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I know a lot of people like the Gloucester Road area - but to me it's just too far from the center. We usually do Mayfair, Covent Garden or Knightsbridge. Not near everything as London is so huge - but closer.

And we got stuck at that Park International hotel (free tour so we couldn't choose) and I must say that the breakfast was inedible (raw bacon, half cooked eggs and the toast presented in special metal toast chillers - so it was cold and hard versus warm, soft and buttery) and the staff clueless (most seemed not to speak English).
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Jul 24th, 2014, 12:49 PM
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1. Lodging: given the short time, we would like to stay in the center near most of the attractions. Our price range is ~120-160 EUR. Which area we should stay in? Which hotel?

That's not much. You're going to the largest city in Western Europe that is a business and cultural center like New York and expecting to pay low prices. Your best bet may be a decent B&B instead of a hotel chain. Look on londontown.com for options. And there is no place "near most of the attractions" - London is a large city. You're not going to someplace compact like Boston.

2. What's the best option to get from LHR to the city?
Car service, most likely.

3. Sight: Buckingham Palace, London Eye, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower of London. Do you have any additional suggestion?

That's all you came up with? Just google top 10 sights London and you'll get an avalanche. Can't tell you sites without knowing your interests.

4. Tour: We'd like to do an evening cruise on the Thame. Do you know any good tour that take us though major landmarks

Well, there used to be boats that took folks into the Tower, but the purpose was transporting prisoners. ;-)

5. Food: We want to stop by a pub. Also want a nicer romantic dinner. Do you know a good restaurant?

LONDON IS THE LARGEST CITY IN WESTERN EUROPE, there are plenty of pubs and good restaurants. Once your lodging is set, visit Timeout.com for options.
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Jul 24th, 2014, 01:34 PM
  #11
BPN
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Thanks all for your responses.

I'm trying to change my mind set to think more in GBP than $ when talk about our stay in London. Will take a while.

We'll be using justairports.com to book car service from LHR to our hotel and take a taxi on our last day to the train station to catch our Eurostar to Paris.

Lodging: We were underestimate the lodging cost. We expanded our price range and narrow our choices to the 3 below. Please let us know if you have experience with any of them (priced for 3 nights check-in 10/5):

Premier Inn London City - Tower Hill ($733, 430 GBP)
24 Prescot Street, London E1 8BB, England (East End / East London)

The Nadler Kensington ($914, 537 GBP)
5 Courtfield Gardens, Kensington | Kensington, London SW5 0PG, England (Earls Court)

The Z Hotel Piccadilly ($852, 500 GBP)
2 Orange Street, London WC2H 7DF, England

Romantic Dinner: The atmosphere is more important to us than cuisine as we are both very open on trying new things. We honestly don't know how much we should budget for. Probably 100-200 GBP range. I'd ike to look at more from the total value than just a simple limit. It's something nice to have for us.

Thanks,
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Jul 24th, 2014, 02:32 PM
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This restaurant consistently gets voted most romantic http://www.closmaggiore.com
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Jul 24th, 2014, 05:10 PM
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That Premier Inn is near the Minories/Tower Gateway DLR station and not too far from Tower Hill tube station. It is walking distance from the Tower of London but you are in London such a short time I personally wouldn't stay there -- just too far east (and I often stay in the same general area at St Katharine's Marina but I stay for a week at a time and rent a flat.

The Nadler is near Earl's Court so convenient for travel -- (and if you stayed there you could easily take the tube in from Heathrow and save a bit of cash). But I wouldn't stay there either -- just a bit too far west.

The Z is in the absolute center of things. It couldn't be more central. Trafalgar Sq, Covent Garden, the river, Piccadilly Circus, the parks, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey and many theaters are all w/i walking distance.

None of this is about the 'quality' of the accommodations -- just the locations.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 11:31 PM
  #14
BPN
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@jamikins: We looked at Clos Maggiore and would like to try it on this trip. Thanks for the info

@janisj: We went with The Trafalgar which is in the same area with The Z. I am a Hilton Hhonors Diamond so it works out for us.

Thank you for your help!
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