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Where could I go with only a few hours in London?

Where could I go with only a few hours in London?

Old Feb 16th, 2005, 03:34 AM
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Where could I go with only a few hours in London?

I will be flying from Los Angeles to London (direct) at the end of August. I have my choice of either a 9 hour stopover or a 6 hour stopover before flying onward to South Africa.

I figure that with the 9 hour stopover option, that I may have about 5 - 6 hours to mess around in London. However, if I chose the 6 hour stopover, I would just hand out in London Heathrow Airport, with most of my time in the South African Air Business Class Lounge.

With only, let's say, 5.5 hours in London (probably between about 1PM - 6:30PM on a Wednesday summer day) what could I do? There are four of us altogether (my wife, my mom, my sister and I).

My mom has been to London numerous times, and I think my sister has also previously visited, but my wife and I have not. With such limited time, I would just like to go someplace where I can have a nice lunch, do a little walking around a very interesting area, and head back to the airport with plenty of time before my 9:30PM flight.

I wouldn't mind just hiring a driver to take us wherever we go, as this would be much easier and less stressful than worrying about taxicabs/buses/trains.

Any ideas will be appreciated.
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Old Feb 16th, 2005, 04:20 AM
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You could be at Paddington quite quickly on the Heathrow Express, but you'd have to move on from there to be anywhere particularly pleasant. Regent's Park is only a couple of stops on the Underground.

Or you could get to Windsor, which would at least give you some fresh air and a stroll by the river.
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Old Feb 16th, 2005, 05:20 AM
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I would suggest heading over to the banks of the Thames. You could have a nice stroll up the river for views of Parliment and Big Ben. From there it would be a short walk to Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace. A river cruise may also be a great idea as they are only about an hour long and give great views of the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St. Paul's, etc. Afterwards you could take the subway (which is fabulous and stations are just about everywhere) to a nice neighborhood for lunch.
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Old Feb 16th, 2005, 05:45 AM
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If you're really short of time, take the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station (15 mins), and in the station follow the pedestrian signs for "Marks+Spencer Waterside" adjacent to platform 9. This is a new, canalside office complex, three minutes from the train. Walk along the canal about half a mile and you're in the beginnings of the mostly Regency-era Little Venice. Not the most visited part of London, but it's pretty, older than almost anything built by English-speakers in California or SA, gets you fresh air and is under 20 minutes from the middle of Heathrow.

Alternatively, walk south across Hyde Park from Paddington. If you've time, it's 30 minutes to Buckingham Palace, and you might prefer lengthy brisk walking betwen two overnighters to spending longer than is necessary on a tube train.

The Heathrow Express is one of the most expensive forms of travel, mile for mile, anywhere in the world, but they do sometimes offer cheap day returns, so be sure to tell them you're coming back the same day when you buy the ticket.

If you've more time, follow the suggestions about the tube and riverside strolls.
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Old Feb 17th, 2005, 09:13 AM
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Thank you for the excellent suggestions.
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Old Feb 17th, 2005, 09:38 AM
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Hi Roccco -

I did this last August and had big plans for afternoon tea at the Ritz. But, with flight delays & airline issues I missed my tea reservation. By the time I arrived I was tired. So, I took the Heathrow Express in and then the tube to Victoria, where I got on one of the open top buses sightseeing tours. Probably not the best use of time, but it required minimal physical exercise.
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Old Feb 17th, 2005, 10:35 AM
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Print out this map (preferably in color):


Take the LHRX to Paddington. Buy a One-day Bus Pass at the Underground Station. Try this itinerary (jump off and on again whenever you like):

Bus 15 to Aldwych.

Walk (or RV1) to Covent Garden, have lunch.

Walk (or RV1) to Aldwych.

15 to Tower Gateway.

RV1 to London Eye.

Walk across Westminster Bridge to Westminster.

11 or 24 to Victoria.

73 to Marble Arch.

23 to Paddington.

Modify to suit, of course - this is only one possible route that will expose you to a lot of sights without repetition.
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