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3 and half days in London

Our family of two adults and 1 child (14 year old) are visiting London. We are arriving at London around 10 am on Tuesday. We have Tuesday afternoon, W-F to do some sightseeing. I have read Rick's London 2014 and other online information. This is our first time there and would like to see quite a few places. We are not sure about our daily plans and would like your feedback.
1. Pass and Travel: We'll buy the London pass for 3 of us which don't cover Tower of London and St. Paul but we may buy a travel card to get 2for1 deal for these two; We are also getting the Oyster cards for transportation. We'd like to use the London pass wisely
2. Day-1 (Tuesday): We'll visit the British Museum on the day we arrive (in the afternoon) and plan to have dinner at the "Turdin Flavors of Malaysia"; We are planning too much for this day due to an overnight flight.
3. Day-2 (Wed): We'd like to visit Buckingham Palace/change of guards, Westminster Abbey, house of parliament, Churchill's War Rooms, BigBen
4. Day-3 (Thursday): Tower of London, St Paul's, Shakespere's Globe, tower bridge and river cruise, Rick's city walk tour.
5. Day-4 (Friday): Visit Winsor palace
Should we buy the London pass? How can we arrange our daily visits to make our days easier? I arranged these days according to areas. I'd appreciate your comments and suggestions.
Thanks
Sarah

Posted by
506 posts

I felt at the end of our week in London we would have saved a bit by buying the London Pass. The only two freebies we found that we went to were the British Museum and the Albert Victoria museum. That said, we have been to other parts of Europe many times and we were really shocked at how large everything in London is. We could not cover everything we wanted to. Even taking the Tube, all the sights are large and take time. So you may want to look at what the kids will love because once you get somewhere it takes time. Tower of London was great, but also big and took a lot of time to do. Kids will love all the space to run around. The restaurant there is very good and well priced. Everyone has different likes, but I would keep in mind there is only so much you can do in a day. First day we walked up to Buckingham Palace and wondered around that whole area, saw changing of the guards and caught up on some jet lag in the park. The river cruise up to Greenwich was really fun and reasonable.

Posted by
5617 posts

Can't advise on the London Pass. Apologies. 2 for 1 deals are beneficial depending on what sites you wish to visit. Investigate
http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/2334.aspx to see if practical for your itinerary. Day 2 is fine especially if you are ket lagged. I know I recommended this restaurant to some one on the Helpline? Was that you? Given the locale of the restaurant I'm going to take a guess you are staying in the Bayswater/Marble Arch area of London. If not too tired after you visit to the British Museum ( if timing is right might have some tea and scones at Tea and Tattle) why not enjoy a walk into and around Hyde Park. Always nice to get out and about to see locals enjoying their world renown park. Walkers, joggers, prams, horse back riders, sunbathers, picnickers, statues, fountains, and water fowl. Day 2 is doable with the caveat that the changing of the Guard takes place at 11am and if you want a good spot you'll be there much earlier to stand around a wait. Might I suggest watching the Horse Guards instead, closer to the Churchill War Rooms. Check on opening times there. You can see Big Ben and Parliament exteriors any time. Abbey is there but again, you need to coordinate opening times to arrange your schedule. It's summer, there will be lines and crowds and you need to plug in wait times to your itinerary.

Day 3. Be at the Tower when it opens. Then a gander at Tower Bridge, then back up and over to Leadenhall Market for lunch. Might the 14 year old be interested in finding the Blue Door to the Leaky Caldron from Harry Potter? Afterwards more walking or a tube ride over to St. Paul's. Then a nice walk over the Millennium bridge to The Globe. Later after cruise would be nice about this time. Or an early evening ride on the London Eye. Day 4 Windsor Castle. Take the earliest train out. You'll have time that day for something else. Camden Lock Market is always fun. Have a great first time visit to London!!!

Posted by
5 posts

Hi Judy and Claudia,
Thank you so much for replying my post. Our trip is less than two weeks away and I still have a lot to do. We are taking the Eurostar to Paris after London and still haven't done much daily planning there. I have used google map to map our my days but there are gaps. I wish I knew these posts earlier.
1. We'll get our London pass for time saving. Order online (10% discount) and deliver them to hotel (talked to them already). I was wrong on my previous post. Actually Tower of London is covered in the pass. Only St Paul's is not covered. We may or may not use the 2 for 1 deal depends on how complicated it is. Time matters.
2. Day 1: Lunch anywere near hotel (very close to Hyde Park) or BM. Visit British Museum; Tea and Scones at Tea and Tattle (Thank you Claudia!), short walk in Hyde Park or not and then maybe dinner at Turdin flavors of Malaysia (don't remember where I read the recommendation). Or we may have an earlier dinner and then a short walk in Hyde Park, that's why I choose there to stay. I enjoy walking.
3. Day 2: This day is very busy with a 14 year old. I slightly revised it after Claudia's suggestion and google map: Tour briefly around house of parliament and big ben for pictures > walk to Horse guards parade > lunch > Westminster > Churchill > Buckinghum. Can you recommend any place for lunch and dinner for this area? Thanks
4. Day 3. Follow Claudia's suggestion: Tower > Tower Bridge, Leadenhall Market for lunch > St Paul's > Millennium Bridge > Shakespere's Glob. Any suggestion for dinner around here? The hop on and hop off river cruise is included in the pass. I can choose to do it any day but I don't know where to get on and off and which day is the best. Claudia, where is the Blue Door to the Leaky Caldron from Harry Potter? Is it in the Market? Don't know if we have time for a ride on London eye. Is it a good choice to see a show at the Globe?
5. Day 4 Windsor Castle. I will take the earliest train out from paddington (8 min walk from hotel). How about a self guided Harry potter tour for the rest of the day? My daughter will be excited, but I need to do some research on it. What do you think? I'll look into Camden Lock Market if possible.
I am so excited already, trying to make everything easier. This trip requies so much work since this is our first time to Europe. Thank you for your help.
Zulan

Posted by
10344 posts

Of what you list on your itinerary, only the British Museum and your park walks are free.
Other museums, not on your list, that are free are:
most of the big art museums
Natural History Museum (you and your 14 year old will probably like it)
Victoria & Albert Museum

One thing to remember about London sights is that almost all of them don't open until 10am and close at 6pm. And the museums will start flushing visitors out by 5:30. There are a few exceptions but not very many. But you probably don't want to be on the Tube before 9:30am so the opening times of 10 work out okay. But the closing time of 6pm is a limiting factor, although maybe that's just London's way of telling you it's time to go to the pub.

Have a plan B for Houses of Parliament: my wife and I were there a few weeks ago, during the week, and nobody was being allowed in, and security said "the tour books have got it all wrong, you have to get the Saturday tour." If same happens to you, and your at Parliament's door around 4:30 when you're turned away, you can walk across the street and attend Evening Vespers services at the Abbey for free (although you are required to leave immediately after the service).

Posted by
5 posts

Mincepie,
Thank you for your suggestion. We'll try the restaurant someday.

Posted by
5 posts

Hi Kent,
Thanks for reply. We don't have to go inside of the Parliament. I think my daughter may like the Natural History Museum. I'll use the evening for park visits, river cruise, London Eye ride or movies (some are covered in the pass). This may be a one time in life trip (I hope not) and love history and nature. There are so many places to go in 3 days. My daughter wanted this trip so I hope she is going to enjoy everything there.
Thank you all agiain.

Posted by
5 posts

We are all morning people and we don't mind getting up early. I'll do a lot of morning walk in Hyde Park before heading out each day.