Two full days in London this September... itinerary help GO!
Have you been before? What are you interested in? A little more information would help us advise you better. Without knowing your interests, and assuming this is your first time visiting, I would recommend the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and the Harry Potter studio tour if you are fans of the books/movies. ( if you are, buy your tickets ASAP as they sell out pretty far in advance.)
Inside tour of State Rooms in Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Churchill’s War Rooms, Tower of Condor..Windsor Castle
Biggie suggest you share a bit more about your interests as what I like seeing and doing in London might not be your cup of tea.
Also you could just Google “ what to see in London.”
No we've never been, and I honestly don't know what all London has to offer besides a quick Google search.
We will have just come from 11 nights traveling in Scotland with my parents.
My father is interested in the bridges for sure. And anything historical.
Tower of London, Tower of Condor, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace all sounds like things my parents would be interested in.
We do like Harry Potter - what all does the studio tour entail?
My Mother and I would enjoy afternoon Tea. Any suggestions there?
Are there any pretty gardens? Good River tours? Is Stonehedge plausible as a half day trip (no car)? Any markets? We like to be outside.
Where is the most convenient part of town to stay in? Which has the most character? Where can we just walk around and just enjoy whatever is going on?
What are some great restaurants (any style)? Suggestions for any pubs at night (nothing to crazy). What else could we do at night- besides see a show of sort?
I'm honestly interested in what you'd actually enjoy as well- as sometimes Google searching and travel books always give the most touristy stuff. So something outside the box is welcome for sure
Don’t waste time or money on the London Eye. Do decide 2-3 major must dos depending on your interests.
Tower of London
Imperial War Museum
Check the Tower Bridge lift times
Leadenhall Market Place
Treasure Room at The British Library
Portobello Road Market on A Saturday
Brick Lane mural artists tour
Museum of London
The Booking Office St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
for a cocktail or tea or meal
Meandering through Selfridges and Liberty
Walking along the Thames Path
Buying cheese at Neal’s Yard
Theatre each night
Checking to see what’s on at Wilton’s Music Hall
Evensong at St Brides
TKTS booth in Leicester Square for discounted theatre.
Evita in Regents Park open air theater
Victoria and Albert Museum.
Harrod's food hall.
London Walks tours.
Tower of London, Tower of Condor, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham
Palace all sounds like things my parents would be interested
There is no such thing as the “Tower of Condor” and I suspect that was just a typo for the Tower of London in an earlier post.
I strongly suggest you give London the respect it deserves by looking at a guidebook. Why would you come to a city that you haven’t researched?
This Person Who Writes Stuff:
"I strongly suggest you give London the respect it deserves by looking at a guidebook. Why would you come to a city that you haven’t researched?"
Excuse me; but did I say I was not going to research? I simply asked for suggestions as I've not had the opportunity to research as much as I would like yet.
We are adding London on the end of a September trip as a last minute request from my father- as I am treating him and my mother to a holiday for their 50th wedding anniversary. I had originally planned for another city; so now I have to change plans.
I've traveled to many countries, for weeks at a time, and researched many countries and used "guidebooks" as I have seen fit. What I love about this travel forum is the different suggestions and advice from multiple people on what they like to do. So I threw out a quick- what to do in London post to help me get started.
Haha if you think the only thing I'm using is this thread of messages to plan my trip, you're hysterically funny. And if you think the only good travel comes from where a guidebook tells you to go and do, then that's even funnier. But thanks for the suggestion; I'll take it in stride.
Harry Potter is an entire day. Unless you want to spend an entire day of your two days commuting to Watford...
Lots of great tea. Fortnum & Mason is a fantastic one and centrally located.
Imperial War Museum could take all of two days. If you do go, you need to research and know exactly what you want to see. Even getting through the World War 1 wing without looking at everything is a good 2-3 hours. It’s also on the south side of the Thames and not near a majority of other sites.
You could probably do 5 things and a play in two full days (assuming three nights). St Paul’s and Tower of London and a play that night.
hey hey biggie
London is a big, crowded, busy city. we loved it. You won’t see all you want but do enjoy this fun city.
hrp.org.uk has a tour of Buckingham Palace.
jasons.co.uk a relaxing boat ride up the canal
aladyinlondon.com. a blog about walks and places to see in london
b-bakery.com tea in their bakery or aboard the big red bus around town seeing some of the sights
walks.com. Walks to different places in London on different days. maybe a Beatles walk (yeah yeah yeah)
streetsensation.co.uk a map of the different markets to eat some street food and see what they offer.
afternoonteaonline.co.uk. a list of places for tea
wowcher.co.uk. Is like groupon, register and they have 2 for 1 specials (thanks to emma, a poster here)
we did a gin tour with shake rattle and pour. fun night out with about 12 of us in our chauffeur driven van to different pubs, tasting a specialty gin drink made with the pubs gin, if you like gin
changing of the guard at the palace is crazy, so many people climbing what they can, pushing and shoving, we were there. check out the horse/guards a little away from there.
don’t know your budget in pounds for accommodations, cross-pollinate.com or booking.com check your arrival times for checkin, if early do they have a luggage hold instead of carrying bags around. I think 2 hotel rooms for your group, beds not bed and sofa bed, bathrooms, near transport. rode the tube, amazing. walk around, sit at cafe people watch and enjoy london. Piccadilly, Trafalgar, Covent gardens have some “free” entertainment, a sight to see. of course we ate fish and chips, stop at a pub for a pint if you guys drink. some of the pubs are so gorgeous and old with the architecture. have fun
"don’t know your budget in euros for accommodations"
Why do they need a budget in euros??
Honestly, if you've never been I would suggest you just walk around. On my first visit to London that's all I wanted to do. We stayed in Westminster, a few blocks from the Houses of Parliament and walked there, to Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, up the Mall, through St James' Park, past Buckingham Palace. Then the tube to Regent's Park. Another day we walked all over Hyde Park and to Kensington Palace. I felt like I got a taste of the city. Take a look at a map and see what looks interesting to you. Probably the greatest highlight of our visits has been the Churchill War Rooms, however, that needs several hours and if you just have a couple of days then it might be best saved for another trip.
If you just want an overview or the weather is poor, the Hop On Hop Off bus will give you a good look at everything.
There are plenty of options for tea - some are really pricey. Suggest you check Groupon to see if you can get a coupon. Last October we had a nice tea at the British Museum (22GBP for tea, 29 for Prosecco tea). With that you get to see the museum plus have tea ;)
As for location for hotel, my preference is to stay close to the Kensington Palace end of Hyde Park. There's a tube station close by, pubs and shops down the street, and if nothing else you have that beautiful park right outside your window. We've also stayed near Westminster, and several times in the east end close to the Angel station. We have friends who live in that area so that's the only reason we've stayed there ... it's not the best location for a tourist visit.
Depending on what periods of history interest your father, you might choose the Tower of London or you might choose the Churchill War Rooms. With just two days, I would pick a particular part of London to visit each day rather than running all about or spending a lot of time riding the tube. In and around Westminster you have the Abbey, Houses of Parliament, Churchill War Rooms, and (not too far away) Buckingham Palace. Those and a couple of pubs would do it for me for the two days. However, I don't know your pace of travel. If you decide to visit the Tower of London and Tower Bridge and maybe St Paul's Cathedral, you'll be much further east and that could be another day. I love both art and history museums, and London has many wonderful ones to offer, but I would leave them and the theatre for another trip. YMMV. Good luck and Happy 50th to you parents!
Thanks for my “goof” I changed it. was thinking of my trip to Paris in September
You need to get Rick Steves London guidebook. I've been to London 7 times and if I were in your position, I would prioritize Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, the British Museum and tea at Fortnum and Mason(expensive but it can be your dinner)
2 full days is not much time for somewhere like London which offers SO much to do and see. I would start by asking your parents what are there big 'must see" items. I don't think you will have time for any day trips like Windsor or Stonehenge. I have been to London many, many times and I love it. I always try to go to evensong at Westminster Abbey if I can't go during the day, just to visit. You can't walk around, but you can sit and listen to the music and gaze at the amazing ceiling and other wonders. I love the Churchill War rooms and this fall I will add the Imperial War Museum as I have been reading a lot of books about the first half of the 20th century. I love Tower of London as I am a Tudor history buff. I go to tea every visit. Sometimes it is just a little corner tea shop and some times I splash out and have a fancy tea at some place like Fortnams or a hotel and call it dinner. I enjoy wandering around Harrods even though I don't like shopping at all. The food hall is amazing. I would highly recommend the Buckingham Palace tour since it will be open while you are there. Kensington Palace is smaller, but I've enjoyed that also. I have taken the HOHO bus tour many times as sometimes I just want to sit on the top of the bus and be driven through one of my favorite cities. Of course, don't do this during rush hour. Take a black cab ride, ride on the Underground, take a Thames cruise. There is a cruise from the Tate Britain to the Tate Modern which is just the right intro length. And, don't get me started on all the wonderful museums, which by the way are free (donation requested) and usually have great cafes and restrooms. I have stayed in both the Kensington area and in the area called Belgravia near Victoria Station. I like them both. Walk through some of the parks, walk along the Thames, walk over the pedestrian bridge across the Thames, take a London Walks Jack the Ripper tour (or others. ) I will be in London in October. I was last there in 2016. My first visit was in 1984. It is a huge, bustling city, but like San Diego where I live it is really a series of villages or neighborhoods, each with their own personality. Check out Rick's London or England book at the library and go to his two page list of some of the highlights.
Thank you thank you thank you to everyone for all the amazing input! I can't wait to start planning.
I think we will look into Buckingham Palace and Tower of London- and the suggestions for tea. And maybe even the HOHO bus (sounds like a great way to see the city). River Thames walks etc.
We know it's not a lot of time- but realistically I am not sure when my parents will get another chance to travel like this.
For tea we enjoyed the Orangery by Kensington Palace. It is in a garden pavilion in Kensington Gardens and was reasonably priced in a lovely setting. You can make reservations.
Since you're already on this website you can go to the Explore Europe menu and do some reading on London. Without discovering some of the basics (for yourself) you are essentially firing shots in the dark.
With such a small amount of time available it will be useful to read up on public transit in advance so you can get around efficiently. The webpage is Transport For London https://tfl.gov.uk/
Google Maps has a similar route plannning service but with less about fares etc.
Yes I had been there, there are many things to do in London and many places to visit I bet 2 days are too less for exploring the great city London. You will enjoy your visit here. Good luck!
And maybe even the HOHO bus (sounds like a great way to see the city).
Traffic in London, especially in Westminster, can be very congested. I remember walking four blocks and I made better time than the HOHO bus.
I would start one day with the War Museum when it opens. You could do Westminster Abbey in the afternoon. The next day I'd get to the British Museum when they first opened, then spend the afternoon walking along the Thames, finishing up at St. Paul's for Evensong.
Just a note on Evensong - I think it’s closed on Wednesday nights. Is that still the case?