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4 days in London

Hi All!!

My friend and I are planning on visiting London for 4 days in June 2021 (HOPEFULLY!!!!!!!) before heading to Scotland, and would love to get suggestions on the best things to see realistically with our timeline and depending on public transportation. Also, do you think the London Pass would be worth the purchase?

Any information or advice would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Kathy

Posted by
5414 posts

London pass is not worth it.

I’ve been going to London for over 40 years and find something new and interesting each visit.

Public transport is excellent. The London Underground is a vital means of exploring the city as are your own two feet.

What are your interests? What do you hope to see?

Posted by
7840 posts

The London Pass is rarely worth the money.

What kinds of things are of interest to you all?

For myself I'd make sure to see:
- Tower of London
- Westminster Abbey
- National Gallery
- British Museum
- St Paul's
- Queen's Gallery if there is an exhibition that is of interest to me
- Royal Mews (stables) if you are in to horses and carriages
- Churchill War Rooms if you have an interest in WWII
- One or two London Walks ( www.walks.com )

Not sure if any of those would be interesting to you!

editing to add: Agree with Claudia's comment about the Underground. It's easy to use even if like me, you are from an area with no public transport.

Posted by
1121 posts

There are so many things to see and do in London; a lot are free. London is actually an easy walking town. If you buy a transit pass, you can hop off and on Buses, or the Underground to get across town or the Thames quickly. Be sure to visit some of the Street Markets if things are back to normal. The Tower and Westminster Abbey are the must sees. I really enjoyed the British Museum, the National Gallery, and the Tate Galleries. A Thames River ride is great fun. The Greenwich Observatory is where you can stand on both sides of the World. Some sites require timed admission with advance purchase, call ahead.

Posted by
5688 posts

If you go and will have connectivity, the CityMapper app will be invaluable in helping you get around town.

Posted by
3542 posts

Rick Steves’ Great Britain and London guidebooks offer suggestions if you have a certain number of days, what to see. He also gives ratings with stars, suggesting what sights are the most must-see. He also lists the Underground stop and bus numbers for a sight, making it easier to figure how to reach them via public transportation. As asked above, do you have particular interests for types of sights?

On at least one of your afternoons, have Tea in London! The Fortnum & Mason store on Piccadilly road has the finest, with a fancier, pricier version, and another one less posh, but you can do it at many museums, cafes, etc.

Getting an Oyster card, which is widely available over there, makes it quick to get in and out of Underground stations, and simple to prepay for rides - but maybe you already know that. You can load more money onto your card, if it runs low, so you can keep riding. Uniformed employees are available at stations to help with getting tickets, cards, etc.

In Scotland, Glasgow also has a Subway (London Oyster Card doesn’t apply), and Edinburgh has a great bus system - and a tram that was added since I’ve been there - although the downtown is very walkable.

Posted by
7 posts

And you must go to the theater!
Tickets are easy to purchase on the day of the performance at the half price Ticket Booth
in Leicester Square. Not all shows will have availability on any given day and not all are half price,
but are discounted. Tickets are sold for same day performances.
You will see other discount ticket booths on the way to the Ticket Booth located in the clock tower in the
southern part of Leicester Square. We just skip by those.
another benefit is that it's only a block or two behind the National Gallery and Trafalgar Square.
Go to thisistheater.com

Enjoy your travel.

Posted by
4354 posts

Kathleen recommended Westminster Cathedral, but perhaps she meant Westminster Abbey. The Cathedral is a big interesting Catholic church, dating I think to the 19th century. The Abbey is the much more historic medieval Gothic church where most of the kings and queens are buried along with many other famous people, and where the monarch is crowned. The Abbey is one of Britain's top sights by most any definition, at least for those interested in history. With only a few days I'd recommend Westminster Abbey but not Westminster Cathedral. Another cathedral of great historic and architectural interest is St. Paul's, not far from the Tower.

While London is indeed very walkable, the major sights are not all close together. A walk between the Tower and Buckingham Palace, for example, would take quite awhile and tire me out, though I'd pass by a lot of scenic and interesting places on the way. That's why the Underground and buses are so helpful, especially with an Oyster card or some other kind of pass (not the London Pass, however, which isn't a good value).

Posted by
1043 posts

Claudia and Pam, I’m curious why you think buying the London Pass isn’t a good idea? I was planning to buy it along with an Oyster card for my hoped-for 6-day London visit before going to Paris and beyond next or following year.
Kathy

Posted by
175 posts

There have been a few mentions of transport passes/Oyster cards - these days the pricing is such that it’s most economical to pay as you go. Because of the daily cap, you end up paying less. And you can use any contactless payment method (Apple Pay or contactless credit card) to go through the gates, you don’t even need to deal with topping up an Oyster card.

Without knowing your interests, and assuming you have no mobility limitations (plan incorporates a lot of walking), for four days in London, I’d do the following (doesn’t have to be in this order except the first day but this is how I’d group the sights):

DAY 1 (I’m assuming you’re landing on this day? This is usually what I do with visitors on their first jet lagged day)
Take the tube to the Westminster stop
Walk through Westminster to see all the big landmarks (sorry that Big Ben is under scaffolding!), I think Rick Steves actually has a walking tour you can follow
If time and energy allow, Westminster Abbey - because so many historical figures are buried there, the audio guide ends up giving an overview of British History that I think is useful background

DAY 2
Take the tube to Tower Hill (if you’re energetic and up early, you could start the day with a walk up Fleet Street and through the City; depends how ambitious you are)
Tower of London (get there when it opens at 10)
Walk over Tower Bridge and then along the Thames to Borough Market for lunch
Tate Modern (modern and contemporary art; book ahead for any temporary exhibitions, which are always excellent)
Walk along the South Bank, stop at one of the places by the National Theatre for a cocktail and people-watching
Consider dinner and a show at the National Theatre or the Old Vic for evening entertainment, or alternatively take the Bakerloo line from Waterloo up to Oxford Circus for dinner and a night out in Soho

Day 3
Pick either the British Museum or the V&A depending on your interests
Spend the afternoon exploring Notting Hill and Kensington (if you pick British Museum, you can take the Central Line from Tottenham Court Road to Notting Hill Gate, explorai Notting Hill, and then walk down into Hyde Park, Kensington, and South Kensington; if you pick the V&A, you can start with South Ken and walk up through Kensington, Hyde Park, and into Notting Hill)
Do “afternoon tea” for dinner - my favourite options are the Ritz (for something classic) or Sketch (for something more whimsical), both need to be booked far in advance during peak tourist season

DAY 4:
Choose between Parliament tour (beautiful Palace of Westminster interior plus super interesting if you’re at all interested in politics and government) or National Gallery (British and European art)
Sandwiches in St James’s Park for lunch
Churchill War Rooms
Explore Covent Garden in the late afternoon, have an early dinner
West End show

For anything that you can book ahead, do. For museums, check whether there are any temporary exhibitions you want to see and book tickets. Others can comment on the best way to get last minute theatre tickets; for most shows I book in advance, or if I decide to see a West End musical last minute, I use the Today Tix app.

Posted by
17398 posts

For any city sightseeing card, each tourist needs to consider his own interests and time available for sightseeing vs. what the card covers.

Most of London's top museums are free/donation-requested, so the sightseeing card doesn't save you any money when you go to them. And quite a number of those museums are so large that visitors with a serious interest could spend more than one full day in each one. A further wrinkle is that the free/donation-requested museums are scattered around the city, as are the paid-entry sights. Visitors who want to see a mixture of free/donation-requested museums and pay-to-enter sights are likely to find that maximizing card usage by grouping the covered sights on the days of card validity means zipping back and forth across the city rather than designing a geographically-logical sightseeing plan. Doing that wastes time and results in seeing less (unless you count the Underground stations).

It's tempting to look at the list of covered attractions, add up a bunch of entry fees and figure you'll save money. But you have to take time out to eat, you have to move from Sight A to Sight B, and you may occasionally just want to sit down and rest your feet. Or you might want to spend time seeing the less touristy corners of a charming neighborhood. The marvelous London Walks cost only 10 pounds each and last two hours; they aren't covered by the sightseeing card.

Posted by
188 posts

Hello all!!

Thank you so much for all the comments and advice!! I realized that I should have been more detailed in my message about dates and interests :)) My friend will hopefully arrive on June 15th, early evening. Hope to get a good start the next morning on seeing the sites. We only have 4 days and want to pack as much as we can in while there (we can rest on the plane on our way to next adventure!). We want to see as many of the major sites as possible, such as The Tower, Big Ben, Tower of London, Westminster, etc... and maybe a good place to shop (markets). We are planning on staying in the `Kensington and Chelsea area of London if possible, unless anyone has alternate suggestions?
I have seen lots of good info so thank you for all of the input!!

Thanks again!!!!
Kathy

Posted by
236 posts

Personally, I dont believe the London Pass to have that great a value. But that is me. It all depends on what your interests are.

For travel in/around London, Oyster Cards are very easy to get and use (tap in/tap out for Tube, tap to board for buses). These days, at least on the Tube, you can even use your smartphone (I would have to check on the buses - cant imagine not, but have not observed anyone actually do it). As others have said, though, London is a very walkable city.

As to suggestions of what to see - much depends on what your interests are. Have either of you been to London before?

Posted by
1059 posts

WALK!
Yes, do take advantage of the wonderful transport system.
But, London offers great discoveries by simply walking.
Too many serendipities to mention, excellent memories created.

Posted by
5414 posts

With regards to what the London Pass offers you need to do the math. IMHO the 2 for 1 deal has been a better cost savings during my London visits. https://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/2for1-london.
However depending on what it is you wish to see the pass may work for you if make a plan and stick to it. Remember Most of London’s museums are free of charge.

4 days is a short time in London but if you plan your days well you can see and do a lot. Big attractions like the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Churchill War Rooms, Saturday’s Portobello Road Market are best seen early before the hordes descend. Then a nice cafe or pub lunch, and off you go to explore some more.

Museum gift stores are nice places to look for souvenirs and cards. If I’m in London at Christmas time it’s where I purchase Christmas cards for the following year.

Less touristy places like Richmond Park, Hampstead Heath and walking along the Thames River path are pleasant respites away from the hustle and bustle of London.

Lastly, make sure you make time to visit a London neighborhood or 2 besides the neighborhood where you intend to stay.

Chiswick, Richmond, Camden, Chalk Farm, Ealing and Hammersmith are areas I’ve stayed in and enjoyed each. In fact can’t wait to return to Ealing for a meal at Pho Saigon and a pint at The Haven Arms.

FYI I believe Elizabeth’s Tower and Big Ben will still be in scoffolding next June but keep looking online before your departure date.

If theater is on your wish list be sure to look at the offerings from the 1/2 price ticket booth in Leicester Square. https://officiallondontheatre.com/tkts/ London theatre is fabulous. Make time for it!

Posted by
17398 posts

I'd highly recommend checking out what plays are running before you get to London. Theatremonkey.com is a good source of information about the plays and (also important) seating at the various theatres.

I've missed out on a few plays I would really, really like to have seen by dilly-dallying. I've found that tickets (my experience is pre-COVID, of course) to the best shows may sell out in the last week or two before the performance date, so I sometimes end up empty-handed. I guess quite a lot of tourists are like me, tending to wait until their feet are on the ground in London before picking up tickets.

You won't get the half-price deals if you buy early, obviously. If you will be happy just to have a London-theatre experience (and assuming theatres are up and running by the time you travel), it should work OK to wait and choose from the options at the half-price booth.

Posted by
1154 posts

I think the issue with the London Pass is that you have to visit more places than most people do for it to pay for itself. We were in London last year for five days and it would not have been worth it for us.

But you could make yourself up a schedule, add up admission costs and compare to London Pass.

Posted by
1552 posts

hey hey kats
HOPEFULLY!! no magic wand here about traveling next year. if europe opens and we are allowed to travel without a quarantine, you are going at a very very busy time like others are hoping to. don't know what apts/hotels will do, charge more to make up for covid losses or bargain prices just to be happy with guests. do you have a budget in pounds for your stay?
london is busy, crowded, expensive, fun, lots to see and do, bumper to bumper traffic, long lines with waiting for attractions, lots of walking. when you say 4 days is that 3 nights or 4 nights? is there an issue with your friend arriving on the 15th evening and please consider her with jetlag next day.
cross-pollinate.com has apts/BnB's
booking.com put in your criteria
wowcher.co.uk free to register with email. it's like groupon here, lots of 2/1 deals, read the fine print. you can even put in scotland
virginexperiencedays.co.uk
eatingeurope.com london food tours streetsensations.co.uk/markets map
horse guards parade at whitehall. where the horses and dressed up riders are. less crowded then buckingham palace. it was absolutely a maddening crowd, packed to the gills!!! pushing/shoving, ropes up and people still going under to push you to the side, lots of guards/bobbies everywhere. if you're short good luck. people line up for hours, i'm short and when they tried to push i did the same thing, on the edge bent down between hips/arms and got a video of guard parade and hoopla.
b-bakery.com double decker red bus tea tour of london
jasons.co.uk boat ride down regent's canal
walks.com informative walks of places, people and things. great tours. visitlondon.com/things to do/free london
freetoursbyfoot.com tripsavvy.com/london withlocals.com/london
aladyinlondon.com scroll down on right to popular posts bestplacestovisit.top/london
i like to walk into grocery stores and just look. you'll never know what you'll find and may be a gift/souvenir. if your feet are tired you can always flag a london cab, we did and worth it.
this will keep you busy with research, have a notebook/folder with everything you want and hope for, times and days open, costs, alerts out for buying tickets ahead of time. good luck
aloha

Posted by
1116 posts

Pre Covid, the London Pass usually wasn’t a good deal especially for shorter trips. It requires a very aggressive sightseeing schedule every day to make it work. There’s only so many hours in a day and most sights close by 5 pm. And, of course there’s travel time involved, plus you’ll probably want a lunch time. You’re not an office worker that needs to scarf down a sandwich in ten minutes.

The big sights that London Pass covers require some time investment such as the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey, they’re massive. Some are more of a day trip.

If you know you’re the hit the ground running in the AM and don’t stop til you drop types for the whole trip, it might work out. But, for many people it makes the trip more of a military drill than a vacation. At home, I can’t enjoy a pint of cask ale beer at noon in a pub and listen to banter around me.

Posted by
2814 posts

I won’t even mention the popular places, instead, a bunch of lesser places worth seeing if you happen to be in their areas. Covent Garden, the former Whitechapel Bell foundry, Twinings Tea, Guildhall, Golden Hinde ship, Neal’s Yard dairy cheese store, Chinatown area, Liberty London, Kensington Palace, Cutty Sark at Greenwich, Paddington Bear statue at Paddington train station, Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross station (Harry Potter), Sky Garden, Bank of England Museum, Leadenhall Market, execution site outside Tower tube station, Cleopatra’s needle, Camden Lock area, Little Ben clock by Victoria station, and Little Venice. If you liked the movie Notting Hill, there are a number sites in Notting Hill used in the film. If you like the old UK TV show, As Time Goes By, you can go by the house used for the outdoor scenes as well as the shop used as Jean’s business in the series. If this is your first time to London, you’ll be lucky to see the popular sites, let alone, the sites I mentioned.

Posted by
188 posts

Hello all again!!!

Thank you, thank you all for all the great ideas and information!!! You have given my friend and I a lot to think over!! We will be arriving on the 15th in the evening and leaving for Scotland on the 20th. So we will have 4 days to visit. I like the ideas of foot tours along with the major sites. Thank you again for all the info.

can I ask one more thing please?? Any suggestion on central places to stay? We like hotels so we can come and go without disturbing anyone. We have a decent budget but would rather spend the money out and about, than using it to just sleep for a few hours, if that makes sense.

Again, all help is appreciated!!!
kathy

Posted by
1405 posts

I can't personally recommend a hotel as we stayed in an apartment, but we really liked staying in the Covent Garden/Soho area. It's very lively at night, so it may not be for you if you're looking for quiet, but it's a great place to be to easily find a restaurant after a long day of walking . I have a coworker who is a single woman and she stayed at the Premier Inn Leicester Square and liked the location.

Posted by
3023 posts

Premier inn Waterloo or premier Inn County hall are two good hotel suggestions. Good location for transportation and right next to the river. Reasonable prices, clean, and good value.

London Pass was a good value for me as a solo traveler. You really need to price out what you know you are going to and compare. I would buy it again as a solo. You may have better options since there are two of you.

Posted by
17398 posts

It's hard to beat the Premier Inns for value. I've stayed in quite a few (only one in London, the County Hall location), and they were very consistent. A lot of them have air conditioning. The odds are that you won't need a/c in June, but it is possible. And it would become a bit more likely if your trip to slips to mid-summer.

One thing about the Premier Inns, though, is that the rooms typically have one large bed and a small (single) bed made up as a couch if you're traveling solo or as a bed if you ask for a twin room. I slept on those small beds in 5 or 6 different Premier Inns last year and they were all fine for me. However, I'd say the mattresses are not as super-comfortable as those on the big beds. I think it would be very difficult to find a moderately priced hotel room in London with two large beds.

If you opt for Premier Inn you should book the room on the corporate website. They offer three types of reservations: fully cancellable ("Flex"), totally non-cancellable ("Standard") and a new option that allows cancellation up to 28 days in advance ("Advance"). The Flex rates are substantially higher than the other two. The pattern in the past has been for all of the rates to creep up as you get closer to the travel date, so it would be a good idea to book one of the two refundable rates soon. This far out, there may not be much financial advantage to choosing the Advance rate rather than the Flex rate.

Because the rooms in the Premier Inns are so very similar, I think you can use the rates of the various locations as a guide to how convenient the PI clientele considers each hotel. Of course, quite a lot of their customers are probably business travelers rather than tourists.

I found the Covent Garden area not to my taste (too hectic), but if I were planning to spend most evenings at the theatre, it would be handy to be staying in that part of the city.

Posted by
2814 posts

We always stay in South Kensington and mostly at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt on Cromwell Rd. It’s not a value hotel, but we like its location right by the Gloucester tube stop. Easy to get to from the airport and it is on the Piccadilly, District, and Circle lines making it easy to get to all the popular attractions. If you’re taking the train up to Scotland, it’s easy to get to Kings Cross from the Gloucester station.

Posted by
11185 posts

If you and your friend each want your own room (remember this also means you each have your own bathroom), I like the Hub by Premier Inn at Goodge Street. The regular rooms are very small but also very efficient, so they work well for one person. In particular, there's a huge storage space under the bed which pulls out, so it's easy to put all your extra stuff there (my suitcases fit there!).

Even though the regular rooms officially sleep two, do not even THINK of putting two people in one. However, they also have Bigger rooms (that's actually what they are called), and these are fine for two.

The location of the Goodge Street property is very good. It's about a 20-30 minute walk to the West End theatres, and you can also take a bus directly up and down Tottenham Court Road. You're a 2 minute walk to the Goodge Street tube station (Northern line), and less than 10 minutes to either Warren Street or Tottenham Court Road tube stations for more direct train options. The neighborhood is Fitzrovia, which several locals on this board like, as it's relatively central but out of the tourist hubbub. It's also very convenient for supermarkets, restaurants, and general shopping (not fancy stores, but the equivalent of, say, Target - places to pick up things your forgot to pack or replace things that got damaged, without spending a fortune).

Posted by
1116 posts

I’ll second the recommendation for Hub hotels or Z Hotels, same concept. They are VERY small, but each person having their own room + bathroom can be perfect as well as giving you downtime away from each other.

Pre Covid. I liked the Z Hotel Tottenham court road and Hub Hotel Covent Garden (St Martin Lane) but any of their locations will work, they’re designed for urban travelers.

Posted by
13 posts

Don't overlook the next zone out when seeking accommodation. I attend medical conferences in central London, and stay near a tube station in Zone 2. The hotel is half the price of central London, and that more than pays for the cost of a ticket in.

Although I have an Oyster card I find I rarely use it now as I can use my contactless credit card, which saves the hassle of topping up the Oyster card.

Posted by
2814 posts

While a contactless card is as easy to use as an Oyster card, the 2 minutes it takes to top up an Oyster card is hardly a hassle. People waste more time than that waiting to get on the tube or get a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

Posted by
188 posts

Hi all,
Again thank you for all the great information but I'm not sure I understand what you're talking about when you mention zones could you explain that a little more please?

Thanks!!

Posted by
2814 posts

The short version: The underground system is divided into six zones that go around the city with Zone 1 the area of London where the majority of the main tourist sights are located. Zone 6 is out by Heathrow airport. What the respondent was saying is, hotels are cheaper the further you get away from the city center, so you’ll pay less for a comparable hotel in zone 2 than you would in zone 1, and the ride to get to the attractions wouldn’t be much longer. If you look at the tube map, it shows the different zones.
http://content.tfl.gov.uk/standard-tube-map.pdf

Posted by
8791 posts

I stay at a hotel that is closest to a tube station in both zones 1 & 2. While I would normally recommend my hotel, it is about a 15-20 minute tube ride to the basic center of the action. Not easy to pop in and out.

The previously mentioned Premier Inns are an excellent value in an expensive city. I've stayed in numerous ones all over the UK and they have always been clean, quiet and a good value.

Posted by
5414 posts

Make a list of what you want to see during your stay;
Then use The Google Satellite Map function to see where things are located and the nearest tube
( underground ) station.

Please note that from Parliament Square with Elizabeth’s Tower ( still in scaffolding) and the Big Ben Clock, Parliament and Westminster Abbey is only a 15 minute stroll up Birdcage Walk to Buckingham Palace. Birdcage walk is an enjoyable stroll through St James Park.

The popular Churchill War Rooms are near Parliament Square as well. With friends I’ve toured Parliament, visited the Abbey and the War Rooms in a day. However this was in the month of November when the crowds weren’t massive. In fact it was eerily empty in Westminster Abbey. Got there early having tubed from our accommodation near Hyde Park to Waterloo so we could walk across Westminster Bridge to Parliament Square. It’s on that bridge where you get the iconic photo of Parliament and the Thames, it’s especially lovely at night.

To see Westminster we were 2nd in line waiting for it to open and used our 2 for 1 Days Out coupon to get inside.

ALAWAYS check the Westminster Abbey website to be certain there isn’t a special function taking place to prevent you from admittance.

I’ve been to London numerous times and have found walking a wonderful way to see the sites. Combined with the easily navigable Underground and bus system if you plan a daily itinerary you be able to see a lot of the main tourist attractions. For instance if you visit the Tower of London it’s an easy stroll up to Leadenhall Market which is the last glass covered market in London. From there it’s 15-20 minute stroll to Dennis Seaver’s House ( google it) and from there
20 minutes to Spitafields Market....walking to and from these places gives you a feel for London’s daily life.

Or use the Tube.

As already noted Premier Inns are of good value. Breakfast is included in the price id you choose that option when making your reservations. I’ve found their breakfast buffet very well done and I like the brand of coffee they use.

PM if you’d like more intel re: good restaurants and off the beaten path ideas to consider seeing.

In January of 2019 I posted a lengthy travel report about London and my stay in outer neighborhoods of Chiswick and Richmond.

Great city. I miss being able to visit it.

Posted by
134 posts

I loved London. I'm excited that you're going!

Hotel: We loved the Hampton Inn Waterloo. We had points, so that's huge. Without points, I would still stay there because it is so close to Waterloo Station, and Waterloo Station gets you EVERYWHERE quickly. Being close to a tube stop that doesn't require you to make several changes to get to your destination is so so nice. Included breakfast is always a great thing, and theirs is very good. They also have an attached restaurant that had a wide variety of yummy food. Unexpected great thing about it - right next door to a little convenience store.

The London Pass is great if you want to see several of the big ticket items - Windsor, Hampton Court (my favorite!), The Tower, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's, Churchill War Rooms. I recommend all of them <3.

Random fun thing that you may like doing at night - climbing the O2! Lots of fun. I wouldn't use your precious daytime hours to do it, but a nighttime visit, when everything else is closed, is just a memory waiting to be made.

This is my travel report from my trip with my boys a few years ago. It might be useful to see how I squeezed everything in. We had fun :)
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/10-days-in-london-with-tween-boys

Please post about your trip - especially the Scotland portion! - when you get back. I am plotting and planning a trip there post-Covid.

Happy traveling! Merritt

Posted by
256 posts

After 4 trips to London, for a total of 3 months' of sightseeing. I've found that the 2 things that I've seen that I would highly reccommend to anyone are the British Library near King's Cross, and The V&A, The Victoria & Albert Museum. The V&A has a huge jewelry room that I found more sparkly,interesting,and easier than anything else I saw (including the crown jewels in the Tower of London) with a huge variety of tiaras and sections of jewelry displays by century. It'g got a huge variety of rooms& topics and also makes sightseeing easy with a reasonably priced cafeteria on site. The British Library's Treasure Room has padded benches throughout, so if you're looking for something super-interesting AND easier to navigate after tiring yourself out at other places, it's a good site to hop a bus to. They also have a cafe' there, and a book shop with literature related fun things. At the very least they're good back ups for any rainy days you have.

Happy travel planning, my cousin and aunt who are doctors and medical researchers said the vaccine's progress is VERY promising with recent additional breakthroughs, for VERY soon, so I do hope you do have a great trip in the summer of 2021. :)

-Alison

Posted by
17398 posts

A tip for seeing the jewelry collection at the V&A (which I agree is fabulous): Try to be at the museum when it opens (I think that's at 10 AM) and head right to the jewelry section. In my experience on two recent trips, you'll have at least 30 minutes of relative peace, but by an hour after opening, the area will be quite crowded and not as easy to enjoy. That's the only section of the V&A where I haven't been able to move around at will, though I'm sure the special exhibitions (with entry fees) can be crowded.

Posted by
2529 posts

I have not been to tea at the Ritz because I don't want to dress up. The Fortnum and Mason tea is really nice and relaxing(with pianist) and business casual is acceptable there.

Posted by
23 posts

We visited London in summer, 2018. We were a family group, but did many of the things already mentioned above. London is such a fun city with so much to see. If you can squeeze it in, one thing I would definitely recommend to break up the obligatory tourist sites (which don’t get me wrong - are worth seeing!), is a walking food tour. Do one for dinner, and it won’t even cut into your day’s sightseeing. We did an Indian food tour with Secret Food Tours. https://www.secretfoodtours.com/london/indian-food-tour/. It was amazing. The food was great, but it also gets you into areas of the city that you won’t find on your own, with a knowledgeable guide who can tell you about the area you’re in. It’s great fun. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you, but whenever you go, have a terrific trip!

Posted by
23 posts

My husband and I spent 4 days in London in June 2017. We went to The Tower of London and Churchill War rooms. We walked around the beautiful parks and did a bus tour. We did buy an Oyster Card. We stayed at the Nadler Kensington. It has a different name but we loved the hotel and it's location. We enjoy going to breweries so we went to several throughout the city

Posted by
196 posts

We're landing at Heathrow on the 14th of June! Let's hope Covid is under control by then. We used the London Pass the first time we went there and it worked out fine. We also use Rick's guidebooks, too. If you combine the two, you'll have a great time. We got tickets for Back to the Future, the musical and Jersey Boys while we're there. Have fun. (Scotland was wonderful, too!)

Posted by
23 posts

Around the first of the year, start checking out Time Out London. On our last trip, we found highly discounted night time stuff to do including a concert at St Martin in the Fields and a play in the westend. Since it's your first trip, there's a good reason to visit some of the most popular attractions. If I had only 4 days for discretionary things, I would check out the War Rooms, Greenwich Observatory, Hampton Court and Bletchley Park. Also, something totally unique and a well kept secret is "The Ceremony of the Keys" . Google it for more info. It's held nightly around 9:30 pm at The Tower for a group of 20 or so lucky people. It's free, but you'll need to make a reservation online well in advance. The ceremony has been going on for 700 years, rain or shine, war and peace. Only the Brits know how do pageantry and ceremony. It's very dark at The Tower at night and you may need to bring a sweatshirt.

Posted by
23 posts

I forgot one more thing. The Tate Modern is a must see. Also, have lunch there. The view across the river toward St Paul's is spectacular.

Posted by
14 posts

There are lots of good recommendations above and I can give you a couple of great free things to see.

Buy a couple of cheap apples and a bag of bird food from a poundshop. Get the tube to Lancaster Gate and cross to Kensington Gardens, checking out the beautiful Italian Water Gardens. Then continue just past the statue of peter pan, where you should see a feeding area for birds. There will be many pigeons but there will also be wild Parakeets that will feed out of your hand. They love apples.

Visit the Sky Garden on top of the "walkie talkie". Fantastic 360 degree views of London in tropical style garden. Free but you need to book a slot in advance on line.

Posted by
66 posts

Please don’t feed the birds in the parks nor seagulls at the beach. It causes them to become a pest and disturbs the local natural ecology. Thanks

Posted by
14 posts

I'll just carry on doing it, thanks for your concern.

Posted by
4245 posts

You've gotten a lot of great tips for what to see in London.

The highlight of our last visit there was seeing "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at Shakespeare's Globe. If you are considering seeing a play, please check out the Globe's website. https://www.shakespearesglobe.com/ Next year's season doesn't seem to be posted yet, but keep an eye on it.

Our favorite hotel is the Kensington Gardens. www.kensingtongardenshotel.co.uk It's smaller, and in a rather busy part of Bayswater, but on a quiet side street and faces a small park. No elevator, if that's important to you, but they serve an amazing breakfast at their sister hotel just a couple of doors down. (Breakfast is way more important to me than an elevator!) Their sister hotel - I think it's the Phoenix - is cushier, and somewhat more expensive. I would consider that one if I wanted something "nicer."

Both are near tube stops and in walking distance of Kensington Gardens Kensington Palace, and many museums. Portobello Market is also in walking distance, and is a great way to spend a half day.