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Trip Report -- One Week in London


Oct 15th, 2012, 02:32 PM
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Trip Report -- One Week in London

I finally took my trip to London last week. Over the last few months I spent a lot of time lurking on Fodor’s reading the travel forum almost every day and posting a few of my own silly questions. Here’s my quick travel report. Thanks for all the help!

Day 1—Arrived at Heathrow around 9 a.m. on a Sunday. I could have not have asked for a better flight. The plane must have been half full. I had the aisle to myself and no one sitting behind me so I could recline my chair without worrying about the person behind me. Sunday morning must be a bit of sweet spot to arrive at Heathrow. Immigration took me all of 15 minutes to get threw. No checked baggage so I was able to hop on the Tube fairly quickly. At Paddington station I purchased my 7 Day Travel Card. I then grabbed a sandwich from M&S and headed to the hotel. We were staying at the fairly brand new Paddington Tune Hotel. I really liked the hotel. Of course the rooms are super small (enough room for a bed and that’s about it) and they charged for every little thing, but it was super cheap, very clean, and the staff was incredibly nice. The hotel was about a five minute walk from Paddington and a little more than a 10 minute walk to the Lancaster Gate station.

My friend arrived a few hours later. From there we walked to Hyde Park where we checked out Speakers Corner and then walked through the park all the way to Harrods. Lady Gaga was suppose to make an appearance later in the evening there so it was even more chaotic than a normal Sunday afternoon. My friend said it reminded her of Las Vegas. We then walked from Harrods down to the South Kensington station. (We were just in a mood to walk around and soak up everything.) We finally ended up meeting up with a friend in town for dinner close to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

Day 2: We woke up rather early so we’d be at St. Paul’s right when it opened. We took the train from Lancaster Gate straight to St. Paul’s. After St. Paul’s we headed to Borough Market for an early lunch. While the market is opened Thurs-Sun I had been told a few of the food stalls would be opened. We grabbed a sandwich at Roast (a recommendation) that was OK. After lunch we headed to the Churchill War Rooms (one of my favorite sites of the trip.) We then headed to Buckingham Palace for the perquisite pictures and then to afternoon tea at the Wolseley. The restaurant is beautiful inside and the food and the service were amazing. If you have afternoon tea in London this is the place to do it. We did a little shopping at Fortnum and Mason and purchased a few cheesy souvenirs along Piccadilly.

Day 3: I got up a little early and went for a run in Hyde Park. A third friend arrived today which means we had to switch hotels to a second hotel (St. David’s) that had a triple. St. David’s is also in Paddington so we literally walked down the street to the new location. The hotel is a bit worn and we had this weird pod like shower/toilet in our room, but it was a good deal – safe, clean and it included a very nice English or continental breakfast. The staff was also wonderful and after a few days it felt like they knew us. Once the third friend we headed to Tower Hill. It was a beautiful sunny day so we took a cruise on the Thames from there to Westminster. We originally planned to see Westminster, but it was closed so instead we walked up to the National Gallery and then back to Buckingham Palace. We were exhausted by the early evening so we grabbed sandwiches at Paddington station and headed to bed.

Day 4: We took an early morning train to Bath. Two of my friends took a morning tour to Stonehenge while I took one of the free Mayor of Bath walking tours. The tours run about 2 hours long and are well worth it. By 1 p.m. my friends had returned and we had lunch at Rajpoot Tandoori. They offer a lunch special and for under 9 pounds you get a starter, main dish, and either coffee or ice cream. My friends then took the 2 pm Mayor of Bath tour while I took a walked around the town and river. We meet up again at 4 and spent the rest of the day touring the Roman baths before taking an evening train back to London.

Day 5: Another early morning run in Hyde Park before I headed to the Imperial War Museum, had lunch at Borough Market (really worth the second visit and I had some amazing the food the second time around) and then took a walking tour from London Walks. My friends, meanwhile, went to the Tower of London and then back to Westminster. That evening we met up at the National Portrait Gallery (opened late on Thursdays) and relaxed at a nearby pup, the Marquis.

Day 6: One of my favorite days – another beautiful sunny day so I took a canal ride from Little Venice to the Camden Lock market. My friends headed to Kew Garden. We meet up at the Chandos Pub close to Trafalgar Square for a fish and chips dinner and drinks. We stayed for several hours before heading to the Tower of London for the Ceremony of the Keys. The ceremony is well worth the effort.

Day 7: Our final full day in London. We got up early to head to Portobello Road. I really recommend getting there as early as you can because by 11 it’s insanely busy to the point it’s almost impossible to move around. My friends stayed there for most of the day while I left early. I had tickets for a 2 p.m. showing of the RSC’s Much Ado About Nothing. I loved the play and if you love Shakespeare’s you should check it out.

Day 8: Back to Heathrow and then the US ;(
ParisNiceLondon is offline  
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Oct 15th, 2012, 11:48 PM
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I have never been in London, but I really want to. Therefore I've read almost all articles about London here! Your is one of the best)
Donna_Dolce is offline  
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Oct 16th, 2012, 05:19 AM
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I agree... concise, to the point and full of interesting info... thanks!
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
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Oct 16th, 2012, 06:02 AM
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Paris, Nice, London – excellent summary. You really got around and covered a great deal of territory. Obviously, you did your homework.

Thanks for sharing….
latedaytraveler is offline  
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Oct 16th, 2012, 12:24 PM
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I was wrong about Borough Market -- it's closed on Sunday. Ooops!
ParisNiceLondon is offline  
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Oct 16th, 2012, 06:50 PM
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latedaytraveler is offline  
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Oct 17th, 2012, 01:12 PM
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We just got back from a week in London too. And, same as you, the canal ride from Little Venice to Camden Locks was one of our favorite experiences this trip.
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Oct 21st, 2012, 04:03 AM
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Glad you mentioned the Ceremony of the Keys at Tower of London - I have only just learnt about this. What time was it, where there many people and did it cost anything?

20 questions Thanks
Seznz is offline  
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Oct 21st, 2012, 05:45 AM
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Ceremony of the Keys

Free - but you need to be organised WAY in advance (I have recently found to my dismay!:

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Oct 21st, 2012, 06:21 AM
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Thank you! It sounds as though you had a wonderful time.
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Oct 21st, 2012, 06:29 AM
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Good job. Does your moniker hint at future TR's??
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Oct 22nd, 2012, 04:48 PM
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@Seznz I mailed my request in mid-August for October dates. The special stamps they ask for can be a little hard to find so you might have to check with a couple of post offices or order them online.

@TDundette Hopefully
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