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UK: how long will it take to cover these places?

UK: how long will it take to cover these places?

Aug 9th, 2009, 01:09 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2009
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UK: how long will it take to cover these places?


I'm travelling with my family to England (the four of us- no kids per say) and while we have lots of suggestions on what to see, we're having a tough time making up our minds, or, honestly, even knowing where to start. Would it be possible to give us an idea on how long it will take to see these places listed below? We're in England for 13 days, out of which 3 days we plan to spend in Scotland.

1. St Paul’s Cathedral
2. Salisbury Cathedral
3. Stonehenge
4. Georgian city of Bath
5. Westminster Abbey
6. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
7. Tower Bridge
8. The London Eye
9. Tate modern
10. The British museum
11. The Globe theatre (we’re planning to watch a play there too)
12. Madame Tussade’s
13. Guard’s museum and changing of the guards
14. Kensington Palace

Also, would you recommend these places to see? This is our first trip to the UK. Thank you very much for any help.
tashan is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 02:11 AM
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From your list of 14 places, 11 are in London, 3 are in the West of England. You can do 2,3 and 4 in a day and a half, or as trips from London. The rest you can see in your remaing eight and a half days in London.

I assume that this is your first trip here, as such a short packed itinerary misses out such a lot of Britain, but maybe next time?
Lifeman is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 03:47 AM
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tashan - this is a good start. So many posters here seem to want to see the whole country in a week. Big Ben and Tower Bridge are merely places to see from the outside and won't take more than a few minutes. Houses of Parliament - overseas visitors can visit only during the summer opening. (http://www.parliament.uk/visiting/vi...ours/tours.cfm). One of the best views of Parliament is from the Eye, so that gets quite a few ticks off your list.

Madame Tussauds is a tourist trap, and a busy one. For me it would be the lowest priority. It isn't 'seeing London'.

Bath and Salisbury are worth a day each. Stonehenge rears up again. OK, it's not far from Salisbury. You will be awash with more advice shortly. Personally I wouldn't try to do a lot more than this in the time you have, particularly if you only have 10 days. Hampton Court perhaps? Easy from London.
stfc is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 04:41 AM
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3 days in Scotland: Does then include the 1/2 a day each way to get there and back on the train, or full day each way to drive? (even flying takes about 4 hours each way when you include getting to the airport, advance check in and getting into the city) If so, you'd really have 1 or 2 days free in Scotland. What/where are you interested in seeing in Scotland?

But just to answer your question (To each place you need to add travel time etc.):

1. St Paul’s Cathedral - 90 mins to 2 hours.

2. Salisbury Cathedral - an hour-ish minimum

3. Stonehenge - about 3 hours. Not the stones themselves -- but taking the bus from Salisbury, visiting the site and the bus back to Salisbury

4. Georgian city of Bath - as long as you can spend -- but one full day to see the basics. There are organized coach tours from London that do Salisbury/Stonehenge/Bath in one day.

5. Westminster Abbey - about 2 hours

6. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament - walk-by's. But since they are across the street from the Abbey and across the river from the Eye you don't have to "schedule" them.

7. Tower Bridge - a "walk across". But you don't mention the Tower of London which is right next door and would be a MUST on most visitor's lists. The Tower would take about 3 hours minimum.

8. The London Eye - an hour including queueing for tickets and doing the ride.

9. Tate modern - Depends on how much you enjoy Modern art. The building - maybe 45 minutes. The collection - hours.

10. The British museum - Days and days, but for a casual visitor maybe 3 hours minimum

11. The Globe theatre (we’re planning to watch a play there too) - just visiting, about an hour - 90 mins depending on whether you take a tour or not.

12. Madame Tussade’s. (Tussaud's) Skip it. Or put it on the "we'll do it if we absolutely run out of other things to do" list. If you do go, about 2 hours plus queueing time if you don't buy advance tickets. The line to get in can be an hour or two long before even getting inside.

13. Guard’s museum and changing of the guards - The museum about an hour+. The changing of the guard about 2-2.5 hours including getting there early enough to get a viewing spot.

14. Kensington Palace - about 90 minutes. I'd suggest Hampton Court Palace or Windsor Castle might be more interesting. Each would take about 1/2 a day
janisj is online now  
Aug 9th, 2009, 06:43 AM
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Congrats on not trying to cram in too much in too little time!

Good advice above, I echo most of what the previous posters said:

Definitely visit the Tower of London
Skip Madame Tussauds
Add Hampton Court Palace

I'd spend a full week in London and use the other 3 days for Salisbury/Stonehenge and Bath. With 7 days in London, you can easily rent an apartment. Have fun!
NanBug is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 06:50 AM
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I've been reading these sorts of threads too long - I was expecting to read that you wanted to do all this in a week!

excellent advice above, especially from janisj as ever.

try to ensure that you group your sightseeing ie the tower and St. Paul's on the same trip - moving around london can take a lot more time than you think. look at how you're going to get places too - eg you can get a boat to Hampton Court, and the train back [comes into Waterloo]. the boat both ways would take too long.

have a great trip
annhig is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 09:16 AM
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Just fyi, I understand that the Globe often sells out, so if you haven't already lined up your tickets there, you will want to do so before you travel, and at an early stage of your trip planning.
tahl is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 09:27 AM
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For once, I can't think of anything to add to another's ideas. Janis hit it right on the head. Do the Tower, skip the wax museum.
daveesl is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 10:42 AM
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I agree with the other posters. Purpose built attractions belong in amusement parks. Me I wouldn't even do the "eye".

London has so much history, stick to that theme and you can't go wrong
rogeruktm is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 11:16 AM
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We just returned from London and elsewhere. janisj gives very good advice, and I wish we had followed all of it. I agree with her time frames at the various London spots, also.

Our family enjoyed the Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill Museum as well in London.

We had thought about the wax museum and our guide echoed the comments above, also adding that it would be very crowded.
rileypenny is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 11:21 AM
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We also enjoyed the Cabinet War Rooms and the Churchill Museum. Also the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Kristinelaine is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 11:33 AM
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I love castles and palaces and was quite bored with Kensington (a first for me). Windsor Castle, on the other hand, is an easy train ride from London, the town is nice, and the castle is one of my top two or three favorites of the dozens I've toured because of the incredible furnishings and art work. Hampton Court palace is interesting because of the history.
gabriele is offline  
Aug 10th, 2009, 11:58 AM
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I definitely add in a vote for seeing the Tower of London and not the wax museum. Obviously it's your trip and everyone loves different things. However, the Tower is simply fascinating. The history, the stories, the architecture... You're seeing so many of the other historic places, do you really want to skip one of the big ones?

I think I spent 3 hours there, and plan on returning when I'm in London again in December. The warders give the tours, and while I didn't take a tour (darn it) I've only heard good reviews of them. If you can get it arranged, you may also want to sign up for the Ceremony of the Keys. This is held every night at the Tower and has been for over 700 years. If you're interested, follow the instructions on the website: http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/...ofthekeys.aspx .
Iowa_Redhead is offline  
Aug 10th, 2009, 02:46 PM
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Changing of the Guards is overrated -- they play SHOW TUNES in a marching band. You can see that at a college football game.

Go to the Tower of London, dunno why that's not on your list. Take the Yeoman Warder tour. Chat with history -- I conversed with a female warder without knowing that she is the FIRST EVER female Yeo(wo)man Warder: a personification of history.

If you want to see replicas of famous people, go to the National Portrait Gallery, not Madame Tussaud's. The painted stiffs in the NPG can be viewed for FREE, not the $30+ (US) you have to shell out for the Madame's oversized candles.

Windsor Castle will take most of a day, but St. George's Chapel (on the Castle grounds) on its own is nearly worth the trip.
BigRuss is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 05:37 AM
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Thank you so so much everyone. You guys really are awesome.

We're adding Tower of London and Hampton Court to our list and dropping (you guessed it) Madame Tussaud's.

Lifeman: this is our first trip, although there should be others.

Janisj: Scotland is now under great debate. We'e wondering if it wouldn't just be smarter to spend more time in places like Bath or see more places like Windsor Castle, rather than spend only 3 days in Scotland (that does include travel time). Edinburgh has been highly recommended though.

Stfc, Iowa_Redhead: Thank you for the links.
tashan is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 07:22 AM
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OK - Taking 2 days to visit Edinburgh would be fine. Or 2 days to see Bath/Salisbury/Stonehenge. Or 2 days to see just about anyplace. It is a large and wonderful country w/ hundreds (thousands) of good places to visit.

3 days is not time to "see Scotland" but to pick one place there for 2 or 3 days - sure.

You can't make a wrong choice -- your could spend the entire time in London, or spend a couple of days in Edinburgh, or spend 5-6 days in London and rent a car and tour around a bit of the English countryside for a week, or spend 5 days in London and a week to see a bit of Scotland.
janisj is online now  
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