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7 days in London Itinerary Advice

Myself, husband and our ten year old daughter will be traveling to London for 7 days in August in about 3 weeks. I've come up with the following itinerary and would like some input/advice. Namely if I've missed anything thats nearby that would be fun to include (Ive tried to group all sightseeing together while in the area) or if Im not leaving enough time between attractions. Id really like to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum, but right now I have it just as a back up plan. I cant seem to find a spot for it.
Thanks in advance!

Day 1 Monday
AM-arrive at Heathrow around 11:30ish, purchase oyster cards and head to hotel (Knightsbridge/Belgravia area)
drop off bags, grab lunch
PM-Take bus #9 to get the lay of the land, get off at Picadilly Circus and explore, OR visit Playground and Princess Diana fountain at Hyde Park
Turn in early

Day 2 Tuesday
AM Westminster Abbey 10am-noon
PM-Do Westminster area walking tour ending in Trafalgar square 1pm
Cafe in the Crypt for lunch
National Gallery 2-5pm
Walk to Covent Garden for dinner
Tube back to hotel

Day 3 Wednesday
AM late breakfast
British Museum 11am-3pm
Lunch at museum
PM-go back to hotel for rest, dinner
Explore and Rent bikes at Hyde Park

Day 4 Thursday
AM-Late breakfast
Do St Paul Cathedral Walk (millenium bridge, borough market, London Bridge)
Lunch at Borough Market
PM-Tate Modern
Walk along Southbank, London eye

Day 5 Friday
AM-Early breakfast
Tower of London 9-noon
Lunch at Borough Market
PM-Trip to Greenwich
Royal Observatory, Picnic dinner and frisbee in the park
Plan B-if rain, Victoria and Albert Museum

Day 6 Saturday
AM Windsor Day trip explore castle and town
Look for place for Fish and chip lunch
PM-??? Stay in Windsor into the evening? Anything else I can add here?

Day 7 Sunday
AM-Light shopping, Harrods
PM-Afternoon Tea at Rubens at the Palace 1pm
Evening ???

Day 8 Monday
AM Return flight home

Posted by
6113 posts

Day 2. The National Gallery is quite compact and you should be able to see it in half the time you have allocated, but there’s always the National Portrait Gallery next door.

Day 3. Although I cycle regularly here in Kent, I wouldn’t cycle in central London as it’s too dangerous. Several of my work colleagues that cycle into the office have been knocked off and sustained broken bones.

Day 5 - have lunch in Greenwich rather than a second day at Borough Market.

Day 7 - few self respecting Brits would be seen dead in Harrods - these days it caters for the wealthy Arabs that live nearby and tourists! Bling bling. Selfridges or Liberty are much better shopping experiences. Columbia Road flower market near Liverpool Street Station is only held on Sundays and is a great experience. Also visit the nearby Brick Lane Sunday Market and have a curry lunch here if you like Indian cuisine.

Posted by
25587 posts

For all museums look at the floor plan ahead of time to prioritize. I disagree with Jennifer about the time needed for the National Gallery. I don't remember how much time I spent there, but it was certainly far more than 1-1/2 hours. And 4 hours less time for lunch at the British Museum...

Some of the museums are open late (or parts of them are) one night a week.

Posted by
167 posts

I love Borough Marker and foolishly go out of my way to eat there as often as possible. Can’t fault you for visiting there more than once. That being said, maybe substitute lunch at Harrod’s Food Hall one day if it fits geographically. Although with where you will be on those days, Borough Market fits perfectly into your plans.

On my last trip over, all my wife cared to do was visit Harrod’s. She lasted ten minutes. If you go one day for the food hall, you’ve done enough.

I’ve stayed at the Rubens. It’s a nice hotel. Didn’t love the tea. Have you considered Fortnum & Mason instead? Location wise, tea at Fortnum & Mason and the shopping in the immediate area around Fortnum & Mason may make sense for you. If you are over by the Rubens, you are around the corner from Buckingham Palace, the Mall and St James’ Park. On a nice day, that’s a really beautiful walk and you can see the ducks.

If something gets rained out, consider the British Library. 90 minutes is all you need and they have some terrific memorabilia, old books and the like.

Two more thoughts for you. Would you consider Windsor on the day you arrive or your last day? Not that far from Heathrow, most of what you want to do there would seem to be outside and you can still stay over. One final thought would be Camden Town on the last day. You can shop and eat there.

Posted by
11070 posts

I would keep the Cafe in the Crypt in your plan. While most locals would probably not see the interest, it is something we just do not have in North America that I am aware of. Our church basements are rather different... Their food is decent and reasonably priced. Do it for the novelty.

Posted by
8258 posts

Day 5 after Tower of London walk up towards the Gherkin. Nearby is the last glass covered market in London, Leadenhall Market, lunch there.

Harrods food halls are the only interesting thing about it.

Consider Liberty, Selfridges or Fortum and Mason instead.

If someone is interested in shopping for shoes the shoe department in Selfridges is the size of Texas.

Liberty is so unique you shouldn’t miss taking a peak.

Switching days 6 and 7 isn’t a bad idea especially if you were to stay the night in Windsor.

Lastly, see some theatre. 1/2 ticket booth has same day tickets. See if Matilda is still playing. Not sure if tix available at 1/2 price but worth a look.

The Serpentine is the demarcation between Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. Good cycling
and you could add seeing Kensington Palace to your itinerary.

Safe travels.

Posted by
713 posts

I would keep the Cafe in the Crypt in your plan. While most locals
would probably not see the interest, it is something we just do not
have in North America that I am aware of. Our church basements are
rather different... Their food is decent and reasonably priced. Do it
for the novelty.

I agree. I'd definitely visit it, at least have a cup of coffee and a snack if not a meal. At most times of day the area -Trafalgar Square - is bustling (or, jammed!!) with people. Which is fun. But. When I've had enough of the crowds and noise, I enjoy leaving them behind by visiting the Crypt. It's a nice little break.

Posted by
1316 posts

The National Gallery is hardly what I’d call compact and it is certainly worth at least 3 hours, in my opinion. They have a YouTube channel with discussions of many of their major works, highly recommended.

As mentioned above, most museums have a late night and Friday is a common one.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks everyone, this is the kind of info I needed. Im not sure how much time we'll be at the museums, but we'll just play it
by ear.
We'll skip Picadilly and maybe head straight to Covent Garden. I'm trying to keep our first day light, but active so we can adjust quicker to the time change.
I will take out that 2nd lunch at Borough Market and do Greenwich. When we do go to BM, what's a good time to go to avoid the really big crowds?
My daughter isn't the strongest yet on a bike, so I may just nix the bike rental and do a morning bike tour when we go to Winsdor.

The only reason I wanted to pop into Harrods was to see if they had any Xmas ornaments, but will take your advice and go to Liberty. Is there a good place to buy Christmas ornaments? I know its Summer, but sometimes I get lucky and am able to find them

Kevin, what didn't you like about the tea at Rubens? Reason I chose it was to give us a chance to walk by Buckingham Palace and the park, plus they have a childrens tea option. My family isn't thrilled that we're doing tea at all, so if theres another venue you like besides F&M please let me know. Im trying to avoid spending $$$$ on a tea they will only be meh about.

Also, if anyone can recommend a good place to get Fish and chips while in Windsor, I'd appreciate it.

Posted by
444 posts

On your day 5, it seems like a lot. We didn't leave ToL until almost 1 pm, it is so cool, you may really enjoy it too. Definitley do the beefeater tour. I don't know if you will feel up to a Greenwich Observatory trip after that, maybe you will, but I know we didn't. We did Greenwich another day by boat from Westminster at 11 am, and spent all day there (noon-5). I might just do the V&A on the ToL day, my daughter (13) loved the V&A.

We spent about 3 hours at the British Museum, and didn't see but 1/3 of it before we needed a break.

In Windsor, we ate at the King and Castle Pub, which was recommended by someone working at the castle. It was pretty good, I think my daughter had the fish and chips and enjoyed it. Windsor is very cute, I think it would be nice to just wander around.

Posted by
2290 posts

We had thought of renting bikes in London but the driving on the opposite side of the road just seemed too challenging to us. If your daughter is not a strong bike rider, I would not even think about attempting it.

We went to Harrods. I had wanted to go but once I got there I wasn’t sure why. I also like to buy Christmas ornaments on vacation but did not see any. We did buy some candy.

Posted by
779 posts

On our daughter's first trip to London, when she was 10, we took a bus ride the first day. The motion of the bus kept lulling me to sleep. If that's a possibility for you, then you might want to do something else that day.

Covent Garden might be a better place to explore on that first day, especially if the street performers are out. You could also make a short visit to the British Museum, since it's relatively close by.

My husband was not into afternoon tea, so we compromised by having afternoon tea (though it was a late lunch for us) at Richoux. There are several locations. He had "regular" food off the menu, and daughter and I had their traditional afternoon tea; no need to get a childrens' version

Posted by
149 posts

That day you go to Greenwich, Trafalgar pub has good fish and chips. It’s on the water. Also, ride the boat there!

Posted by
842 posts

Plan on a whole day in Greenwich, plenty to see and do. Go to the Royal Observatory even if it is raining. Definitely some good places for Fish and Chips. Shopping at Harrods, where are you from? Do your shopping at home before you depart, tell then you bought it at Harrods.

Posted by
8258 posts

A friend who lives in London says she often takes visitors with children to an afternoon tea served in the Cellarium Cafe at Westminster Abbey. Says it's an inexpensive option to the afternoon tea experience

I've not been for tea but have eaten there more than once during London stays. I like their soups. Worth checking out.