Two day in London for first timer! Help!

Jan 17th, 2005, 07:33 AM
Original Poster
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Two day in London for first timer! Help!

We are stopping here for our honeymoon, but can only do two days due to the cost. We will be arriving by rail from Paris early in the a.m. on the first day so I expect to get there around 11:00a.m on a Sunday. It looks like we'll be coming in to Waterloo(sp?).
Question 1: Where should we stay? Hotel or B&B and in what section to be most central?
We are not looking to spend more than 150-200 USD a night. It doesn't have to be fancy, but it is our honeymoon so nothing falling apart. I have heard Thistle Victoria may be a good bet.
Question 2: What must see sites can we fit in? On my list: Buckinham Palace, Kensington Palace, Tower of London, WestMinster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, British Museum.
Is this feasible, and if not, which are most important - I love history and architecture if that helps. I could care less about shopping, but would love some suggestions on in-expensive restaurants and great pubs! Thanks!!
88shannon88 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2005, 08:08 AM
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One area that I have stayed in is Bloomsbury. Many B&Bs within your price range (I stayed at a couple on Cartwright Gardens) , walking distance to British Museum, Oxford Street, longer walk to to Covent Garden. Tube is right there, direct line to Heathrow if necessary as well as airport bus. You might want to consider arriving, checking in, then doing an Open Air bus tour. My theory is you do a bus tour, you see the city and the major sites, then you go back (or do a hop on hop off) to see what interests you. I would reconsider Buckingham Palace (I assume you mean Changing of the Guards). Unless you get there early and stand at the right spot, you may not see much. Since you have little time....You could do a nice walk from Buck, through St james Park, have a look at St James Palace, down to Trafalgar Square, chekc out Nationsla Gallery, lunch in crypt of St Martin-in-the -Field, perhaps a concert there, then walk down to Parliament Square, maybe seeing changing of Horses Guard, checking out 10 Downing, Banqueting House, Cabinet War Rooms, Westminster Abbey, Parliament Building, Big Ben,etc...Afterwards walk back and go to Covent Garden, maybe Leicester Square to buy 1/2 price tickets to a play. Another good idea would be a walking tour such as London Walks

Hope this helps,
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 17th, 2005, 08:24 AM
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Thanks so much! That's a lot of info - some of those places I've never even heard of. I'm actually not interested in seeing the changing of the guard, I was more interested in seeing the inside of the palace. Apparently there is a tour - would this not be worth our time? I just like the decor/antiquity of those kinds of things...I'll have to check out your suggestions - thanks again!
88shannon88 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2005, 10:42 AM
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Have you considered Priceline for a hotel. For $200 you should be able to win something pleasant.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 17th, 2005, 04:29 PM
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Take a look at Travel Inn County Hall. It's close to The Eye and Waterloo station and a short walk across the Thames from Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Churchill's War Rooms, and the Horse Guards. If the weather is pleasant, it's a nice walk through St. James Park to Buckingham Palace. The hotel is also a short walk from the boats to the Tower of London.
That's plenty to do in a couple of days. If your budget can be stretched a bit, consider the Mariott County Hall, which even offers views of Big Ben.

vcl is offline  
Jan 17th, 2005, 04:42 PM
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Posts: 7,962 can get you a good central hotel, and it may be within your budget or close. priceline may also work, Monica here at fodors got the Thistle Charing Cross in May for 100 bucks a night (dollars).

Buckingham P may or may not be open when you go. when is your honeymoon?

Michel has a lot of good tips. I'd add to it. I love their walking tours. (he put in london.walks and I thought they were only but I could be wrong)
flygirl is offline  
Jan 17th, 2005, 06:03 PM
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I have to suggest a cafe I haven't seen mentioned here before. It's called Sausage and Mash Cafe and is on Portobello rd. (ladbrook tube station). My husband and I had a TON of food, beer, coke, and tip for less than $40. It was our favorite meal of the trip, great service, adorable decor etc. They specialize in sausages and mash (12 different sausages, 4 different kinds of mash, and 3 different gravys) but also have cottage pie, irish stew, etc. The desserts looked good too, but I was stuffed!
kmchick is offline  
Jan 17th, 2005, 07:42 PM
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If you love history, I would make Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London your priorities. Since you time is so short, maybe on the first day you could take one of the hop on/off bus tours to see the highlights, hop off to take a few photos and take the tour of Westminster Abbey. Then on the second day see the Tower of London in the morning and maybe see a few things at the British Museum in the afternoon.

For $150-$200/night you can get a 5* hotel in the heart of London if you are willing to bid on a hotel on You can get some excellent deals and you'll get the most for your money. Before bidding, do some research on (read the Hotel FAQs, the London Hotel list and the message boards for bidding strategies and deals others have gotten.)

If you bid on a 4* you could maybe even stay an extra day on your savings. (But don't bid on anything less than 4*.)

If Priceline isn't for you, we've stayed at the Bonnington of Bloomsbury a couple of times and its a nice tourist class hotel that would probably be in your budget range. It's a decent hotel and about a 3 minute walk from the British Museum.

A beautiful after-dark walk: start at Charring Cross tube, cross the Hungerford Foot Bridge, stroll along the south bank of the Thames, past the London Eye. Cross Westminster Bridge to see (and hear) Big Ben and Parliament all lit up. Then stroll around Parliament Square past Westminster Abbey and back to the Westminster tube. Prettiest walk in London.
Kayb95 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2005, 07:54 PM
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kmchick, you discovered my place!! I have mentioned it here before, but it's been quite a while back. What you didn't mention was that it is actually called the S&M Cafe!!
Patrick is offline  
Jan 17th, 2005, 10:14 PM
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I believe Buckingham Palace is only open at certain times of the year. I would skip Kensington Palace since you have such a limited time (and it is a bit pricey.) I think you would really enjoy the British Museum, Tower of London and Westminister Abbey since you are interested in history and architecture. Could you possibly squeeze in one more day? What time do you have to leave on Tuesday?
KathrynT is offline  
Jan 18th, 2005, 02:31 AM
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You've gotten some terrific advice. I particularly agree with the idea of using Priceline for a hotel. Here's the link to the London page of Biddingfortravel

You can see what people are paying for rooms--as little as $85/night for 4* hotels (up to about $160-still great value) That same page has a link to the list of hotels by area and star level Priceline uses. They will also help you construct a bid.

FYI, the Thistle Victoria is not getting great reviews on tripadvisor. Read here

I think Michel Paris (Mike) has given you great advice for a walk and sightseeing. I must say I too have stayed on Cartwright Gardens and while I agree it's a convenient location, I would hope you could manage a better level of accomodation for a honeymoon Those places are cheap and cheerful at best.

I agree on the bus tour, whether hop on/off or not. It's a great way to see a lot in a short time. If you'll be there when Buck. palace is actually open for visitors (Aug/Sept--here are the details)

it's certainly would be worthwhile.

Since you'll be arriving on a Sunday morning, if you're interested in palace decor and can't get into Buck., Spencer House, the family home of Princess Diana's family, is only open on Sundays (but not in August or Jan). Here's info

mclaurie is offline  
Jan 18th, 2005, 06:03 AM
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Thanks everyone for all of your great advice! We will be there the Sept 11-14, having a 9:30am flight out to Ireland. Would love to squeeze in an extra day, but just can't take the time away from Paris or Ireland and the tickets are bought and paid for. Will definitly take your advice to do the bus tour the first day and will check into the walks. I'll look into the priceline thing and see if it's for me. Keep the advice coming if you have it - and thanks again!
88shannon88 is offline  
Jan 18th, 2005, 06:43 AM
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I was thinking that no matter what the accomodations, when you are on a honeymoon, every room is like a room at the Ritz
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 18th, 2005, 06:48 AM
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Yes, Mike, but when the bed sags, the walls are paper thin and the toilet's down the ain't so romantic
mclaurie is offline  
Jan 18th, 2005, 07:38 AM
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mclaurie, I bow to your logic

Neat church:

If you are going to go to the Tower of London (and you should) plan on being there for opening time. It can get busy, tour buses etc...And plan on doing the Warders tour, good stuff

London hotels can be expensive, so using service such as Priceline is not a bad idea. If you know an area you would like to stay in, there are interactive maps that give you the hotels/B&Bs in that neighbourhood.

If you do a search for london pubs here, you will get good information. If you click on the user name "ben_haines_london" in those posts (or search for his name) you will gain access to one of our best London resources. He has some hotel reviews worth reading.

Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 18th, 2005, 08:17 AM
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shannon, You will be there at the right time to go inside Buckingham Palace, and I highly recommend it. You need to order your tickets ahead of time and will have a timed entrance. This was my mother's favorite thing on a 12-day vacation.

We also went to Kensington Palace, mainly to see the display of the Queen's hats. We really enjoyed this, but other than that I don't think it's worth a trip, and it's out of the way of the other places you want to go, so with such little time I would skip this.

So, do Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey (absolutely don't miss that) on the first day. Then the second day start with the Tower of London, catch the bus up to St. Paul's, and if you still have time left over you could go to the British Museum. You probably wouldn't have enough time to see it all, of course, but you could probably fit some of it in.

If you stay near Trafalgar Square, you will also get to see that and be near theatres and lots of restaurants in Covent Garden. Have a great trip!
SusanP is offline  
Jan 18th, 2005, 08:20 AM
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Here is the site to buy your tickets for Buckingham Palace:
SusanP is offline  
Jan 18th, 2005, 04:52 PM
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Well, the good news is I got a great deal on Priceline for a 4 star hotel in London. We got the Millenium Gloucester for $115 which is in the Kensington area. The bad news is I got over-excited and decided to try my hand in Paris and got screwed! I guess I wasn't reading between the lines and now I'm stuck at a four star that's practically outside of Paris. Thought I was bidding on the 6th arr. but ended up in the 15th which is a 20 minute metro ride to any touristy thing to do. Anyone ever successfully cancelled through Priceline?
88shannon88 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2005, 08:44 AM
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You can cancel (if you got the insurance $5/day) IF "for unforeseen illness and injury."

monicapileggi is offline  
Jan 19th, 2005, 09:22 AM
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Shame on you You didn't tell us you were going to try bidding for Paris (not what I would have recommeded but oh well...) So let's make lemonade out of lemon.

If you put 15th arr in the text search you'll come up with some previous posts and find that it's a middle class residential area. Some report having felt more Parisian having stayed there. Frequent poster, Christina rented an apt there and seems to know the area. In one post, she suggested to someone staying there to put Zola in the text search box here and then choose France from the box next to it to find a number of posts on the area. (The main street of the arr. is Emile Zola). What hotel did you get?
mclaurie is offline  

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