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yk's heading to London for 5 days. Pls help with lots of Qs

yk's heading to London for 5 days. Pls help with lots of Qs

Aug 10th, 2007, 09:41 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17,194
British Library: You need to prebook for the Sacred exhibition. You can do it (free) from the library's website. You might be able to do it when you arrive, seeing the Ritblatt room first, but don't bank on it.

Kew/Chelsea physic. Well, they're both cerebral. Don't dismiss either if you're a gardener: they give you lots of ideas of what things look like, and you learn a lot about the plants you'll never find on the label at the garden centre. The thing is, Kew's a bit dismal if you're a British gardener, because you can never get them to grow like that at home. And the greenhouses wouldn't fit into that empty spot near the dahlias.

Art galleries generally. Have you planned for seeing the temporary exhibitions, which probably need prebooking if you're not a Friend? Especially:
RA: Impressionists by the Sea (a flanner 3*)
National: Rembrandt/Hals portraits
Tate Modern: Dali
Courtauld: Doesn't need booking, but check what's on at the Hermitage outstation it manages next door.
flanneruk is offline  
Aug 10th, 2007, 10:07 PM
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I hope I'm not repeating any info you've already got...there were a lot of posts and I just skimmed them.

Be careful of leaving the National Gallery for the night hours...unless things have changed since last May, some of the galleries may be closed due to a strike and lack of guards. I wanted to see the Dutch/Flemish stuff - particularly Vermeer and Van Eyck (Arnolfini Marriage) and was disappointed to find those galleries had closed at 5 p.m.

I did the standing room only yard tickets at the Globe until intermission, and then went up into a couple of empty seats near my husband and son (who had seats). Honestly, you get a very different experience in the yard, especially if you queue up early enough to get a spot up front. You can see and hear everything perfectly, and the action takes place so close to you that you really feel part of it. I felt like I had to dodge a few times during sword fights! YOu get a totally different and possibly less powerful experience from the seats. Please note that if you stand in front of the steps (that the actors use to access the stage) you might have to shift slightly to let them up through. Also, you can't sit or rest your feet on them. If you're on the sides or left or right of the steps, you can lean on the stage, which might take the pressure off your feet a bit. You cannot sit down in the yard until intermission, when everyone gives a collective groan, and drops to the floor. Get there early, and queue up at the correct door to get a good close spot. Afterwards, maybe you might want to cross the Millenium Bridge over to St. Paul's for Evensong - it's free and you can get a look inside the cathedral while you listen to some choral music. I think it's at 5 or 6, I forget which. Rick Steves book lists the times. And mayb not be every night, so check.
About the Cabinet War Rooms versus the IWM, both are very worthwhile. I think you can easily spend a few hours or so at the IMP and still not see it all. I liked the trench (WWI), but thought the Air Raid Shelter (WWII) wasn't as good. Maybe it was the guide. The holocaust section was very good, very powerful. If you go, don't miss the large painting by John Singer Sargent; ask someone to show you to it if you cant' find it. The Cabinet War Rooms are great, too; my husband loved the Churchill Museum. I guess I would say the WCR are more evocative, and the IWM has a great collection of war stuff - tanks, planes, missiles, guns, uniforms...all displayed according to which wars or conflicts they pertain to. My 15 yr. old son loved it all.

I thought I would spend an hour at Apsley House, then go on to the Wallace Collection, but I never made it there. At Apsley House, don't miss the two Velasquez'. The Water Seller is great, but the Pope (forget the exact title) is stunning, too. I know you just want to see specific things and maybe revisit a few favorites, but you may find yourself behind schedule (I know you said not to say that! I'm the same way though...I want to see everything I can...) And on that note, have you seen the Pre-Raphelites at the Tate Britain (sorry to add to it

Have fun!

Also, just a heads-up that Apsley House, Nat'l Gallery, and Tate Britain did not allow photography, even without flash.

Sounds like you are a big art fan. Have fun!
MECindylou is offline  
Aug 11th, 2007, 05:26 AM
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#2. Orangery is open from 10:00 until 5:00 or 6:00 PM.
Carrybean is offline  
Aug 11th, 2007, 06:10 AM
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A word about Kenwood House since few have chimed in about it... It has either 1 or 2 Vermeers of only 36 in existence!

Important food plus: you're going on to a Hampstead walk, so it's nice that K House has a cafe in the Conservatory!! A few years back we had our absolute FAVE sweet thing there -- some sinful kind of trifle thing (we all know that Brits' strongest suits in the food line are the pub food & the sweet stuff).
travelerjan is online now  
Aug 11th, 2007, 07:14 AM
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ShelliDawn - Thanks, that's good to know. I think I'll stick with the cafe side because I doubt I will have enough time to enjoy a leisurely lunch.

flanner - I have already booked the free Sacred ticket for 9:30a (1st slot). I hadn't thought about booking the Impressionist @ RA or the Dali at Tate Modern. I do plan on booking the Hals/Rembrandt as it is a discounted Wed ticket. I guess I should book the RA as it will be a Saturday when I visit.

MECindylou - Thanks for the tips! I have ordered this guidebook called "Blue Guide to Museums & Galleries in London" (recommended by Fodorite noe). It should at least tell me which paintings are important to look for. I have seen the permanent collection at National Gallery many times, so I don't mind skipping it this time. As far as the Globe is concerned, I think I'll pay for a seated ticket. I really don't have time to get there early to queue up, nor the energy to stand for 3 hours!

Carrybean - do you know specifically what time they serve afternoon tea at the Orangery? I guess I can give them a call if no one knows.

travelerjan - Yes! That's the main reason why I want to visit Kenwood House, to see the Vermeer. I have seen 23 out of 36 Vermeers so far. And I will leave some time to grab a bite there!

Thanks to everyone who has answered my questions! If you have more info, feel free to post.
yk is online now  
Aug 11th, 2007, 11:00 AM
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After rethinking my itinerary, I have decided to drop the Shakespeare play at the Globe Theatre for the following reasons:
1) The only seated tickets left are £26. The location of these seats are poor.
2) The matinee show (2-5p) takes up precious sightseeing time

I think I'll save the Globe for a future visit when I know I can get better seats

So here's the revised itinerary. Feel free to comment.

September 4 (Tues)
- Arrive LGW 8am, Southern Railway to Charing Cross
- Check in at Northumberland House
- Queen's Gallery
- Apsley House
- Afternoon tea at The Orangery at Kensington Palace (starts at 3)
- V & A Museum (closes at 5:45)
- Bus 14 to Chinatown for dinner

September 5 (Wed)
- British Library Sacred Exhibition (9:30-11)
- Tube to Golders Green, then bus 210 to Kenwood House
- Kenwood House (11:30-1)
- Old Hampstead Village Walk by London Walks (2-4)
- rest at hotel
- National Gallery Dutch Portraits exhibition (6:30-9)
- Dinner at Belgo Centraal

September 6 (Thurs)
- TKTS booth for 1/2 price ticket that evening
- Sir John Soane's Museum
- Courtauld Lucas Cranach exhibition
- Possibly lunch at Boulevard Brasserie
- Cabinet War Rooms
- Imperial War Museum if time allows (opens til 6)
- Play or Musical

September 7 (Fri)
- Tube to Kew Gardens
- Kew Gardens (9:30-11:30)
- Thames River Boat from Kew to Hampton Court (12-1:30)
- Hampton Court Palace (1:30-5:30)
- 5:54 Southwest train to Wimbledon, then change for tube to South Kensington
- 7:30 BBC Proms concert at Royal Albert Hall (James Levine w/BSO)
- Possibly dinner at Wagamama (High Street Kensington, open til 11)

September 8 (Sat)
- Impressionists by the Sea exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts (opens at 10)
- Wallace Collection and lunch there
- Old Marylebone Walk (2-4)
- Rest at hotel
- Dali at Tate Modern (open til 10)

Obviously, nothing is really set in stone. I just like to have a plan with estimated time frames.
yk is online now  
Aug 11th, 2007, 11:27 AM
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YK, I think around 3:00 but maybe you could get it earlier.
Carrybean is offline  
Aug 11th, 2007, 11:41 AM
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yk, the Maids of Honour (yes, at Kew, not HCP)is on Kew Road. We crossed the road going to the tube, but I don't know the name of the gate to Kew Gardens.

We did not eat in the Gardens but had lunch at the Rose and Crown Pub which we came across walking from the boat stop.
carolyn is offline  
Aug 11th, 2007, 11:43 AM
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Actually, it was your Saturday that I thought looked tight before; now it's the Thursday! That Soane's museum seems to be the ringer...

I envy you the Cranach exhibit. I saw a fantastic Cranach exhibit in Prague in 2005 and a not-as-good one in Dresden this spring.

I assume you've seen Tate Britain? The excellence of their collection really took me by surprise. Tate Modern on the other hand has underwhelmed me with their permanent collection (AND its thematic organization), but I love the facility, and the special exhibitions can be good.

Give my love to Belgo - I'm still dreaming of their bread and butter pudding!
noe847 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2007, 12:48 PM
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I personally think now both Tues and Thurs are difficult, if not impossible.

On Tues I wouldn't think you'll be checking in to the hotel until 10:30 or a bit later. Then you'll have to visit the Queen's Gallery and Apsley House at a dead run to get to the Orangery The Orangery by 3:00. Even if you only take 45-60 mins for tea - you'll only have about an hour for thr V&A

Thurs is stuffed too. Just about the only time of day there is a long line at TKTS is right at opening - but that is when you'll have to get there if you hope to squeeze in the rest of that day's itinerary. Getting from Leicester Sq over to Sir John Soane's Museum and spending a minimum of an hour, then to and through the Courtauld all before lunch is a real sprint.
janisj is online now  
Aug 11th, 2007, 01:00 PM
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yk, contrary to what janisj says, I think that you need to pack more in. More can certainly be done on Tuesday and Thursday, and what's up with that "rest at hotel" on Saturday?
111op is offline  
Aug 11th, 2007, 02:15 PM
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I personally think Friday will be the toughest day.

As far as Thursday is concerned, I guess I can change things around a bit.
I can go to TKTS, then John Soane's Museum. Then Lunch, followed by Courtauld and Cabinet War Rooms. I'll skip the Imperial War Museum this time.

For Tuesday, I can always skip V&A if I don't have enough time. I don't think I've ever visited V&A! But since there isn't any special shows I'm dying to see, I can always go there the next time.

And if I have an hour, I can just pick one section of the V&A to focus on.

noe - I don't know what to expect from the Lucas Cranach exhibition. I'm not crazy about his paintings, but wouldn't mind taking a look. I think there'll also be some drawings by Durer on view.

I have been to Tate Britian twice, but both times to special exhibitions (Turner/Whistler/Monet in 2005, and Holbein in 2006). I need to go there at some point just for the permanent collection. Maybe next time.

111op- you missed my scheduled "nap/rest" time for Wednesday also. I personally think I need a nap break every day on this trip, but looks like I can only schedule two.
yk is online now  
Aug 11th, 2007, 04:42 PM
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Oh, I did miss that.

I think that you should lump some of the days together, take out the nap times, so that you have a free day for a same-day Paris r/t. That's what I'd do.
111op is offline  
Aug 11th, 2007, 06:51 PM
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I have visited Kenwood House several tiems (the latest in May), besides the building and art collections (as one post mentioned: one Vermeer, the other two in National Gallery), the ground is beautiful and worth spending time around. If you are interested in gardens, on the way back to Golders Green, perhaps you might like to stop by(same bus)Hill Gardens.
JudyC is offline  
Aug 11th, 2007, 07:04 PM
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I've always made Kenwood House a "two-fer". Walking across the heath and seeing the amazing views from Parliament Hill.

Instead of tube to Golders Green and then bus, you can tube to Hampstead and then walk through the village and across the Heath. Linch at the Spaniard's Inn is good.
janisj is online now  
Aug 11th, 2007, 09:01 PM
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janis- since I'm taking the Old Hampstead Village walk with London Walks after Kenwood House, I assume we'll cover some ground there?

What I can do is after Kenwood house, I can walk from there to Hampstead tube station and join the London Walk. How long do you think it'll take to walk from Kenwood House to Hampstead tube station?
yk is online now  
Aug 13th, 2007, 06:15 AM
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PalenQ is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 06:46 AM
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From the website's very sketchy description of the walk, it does seem you do go up into the Heath at least a bit ("unsurpassed views") and by the Spaniard's Inn ("Dick Turpin") and are not just limited to walking in the village.

I figure it is about a mile or maybe just a bit more from Kenwood House to the tube station.
janisj is online now  
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