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Advice/comments on my 5 day itinerary in London

We are planning to go to London next year in Feb for 5 days and I have made a draft itinerary including a few help and suggestion from a few of you that was given me before which I appreciate that.

We have already bought the 3 Days London Pass which includes the attraction fees

https://www.londonpass.com/london-attractions/

Attractions we will use for LP are: Tower Of London, Hop on/hop off bus, Thames River Boat Cruise, Westmintser Abbey, Tower Bridge Exhibition, Windsor Castle, Wimbledon Lawn Tennis & Wimbledon Tour Experience

Anyway, here is the drafted itinerary

03 Feb (Friday):

HK to London (heathrow) @ 2 Feb. Flight arrive 5am @ 3 Feb. Stay in Airbnb near Waterloo Station.
6am - I assume we would be out of the immigration by this time given it is so early in morning & not busy. Take TUBE to Waterloo (via Green Park). Walk to property approx 10 min.
7:30am - Check in, drop baggage.
8am - Eat breakfast nearby in Waterloo/Westminster
9am - Head to Westminster Abbey to line up
9:15am - Attraction opens and stay up to 1/2 hour? 1 hour?
10:45am - Take Thames Boat Cruise for 11am session to Tower Pier (or take the10:30am if finished early)
https://www.londonpass.com/images_lib/67179019_CCTimetableSummer2016.jpg
(Cruise approx. 30 min?)
11:30am - Walk to Tower Bridge Exhibition and stay approx. for 1 hour
12:30pm - Walk to St Katherine's Dock for 1 hour lunch
(Estimate 15 min walk)
1:45pm - Walk to Tower Of London
(Estimate 15 min walk)
2pm - Stay 2-3 hours?
4pm-5pm - Leave and take the Hop On, Hop Off bus (Bus stop no. 29) to Waterloo/Westminster for dinner nearby before walking back home for early rest

04 Feb (Saturday)

  • Go to Windsor Castle for day trip. Attraction opens at 9:45am. Be there at 9am to line up (due to possible many people on a Saturday?)
  • Depart from Waterloo Station @ around 8am

  • Enter castle

  • Have lunch

  • Go for the Long Walk after lunch

  • Walk Eton via bridge

  • Possibly take French Brothers boat @ 3pm

  • See shopping centre nearby?

Depending what time we will head back.....assuming we head back at 5pm
- Afterwards, take Tube to Piccadilly Circus Station for dinner.
- After dinner start walking in Regent Street and then turn left at Oxford Circus.....walk Oxford Street all the way to Marble Arch. Then take Tube back home.
- Head back home at around 10pm

05 Feb (Sunday)
Note:
Wimbledon museum open at 10am
Wimbledon 1 1/2 hours tour starts at 10:30am

8:30am - Walk to Westminster Underground Station to Southfields Underground Station.
Take direct Tube for 8:54am & arrives the station @ 9:24am
9:30am - Walk approx. 20 min from Southfield Underground Station to the attraction
9:50am - Arrive Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum & see museum from 10am for approximately half hour
10:30am - Wimbledon Tour Experience starts and runs for 1 1/2 hours
12:00pm - Conclude & leave towards Southfield Underground Station
12:15pm - Arrive Southfield Underground Station & Head to Paddington for Little Venice canel boat ride to Campen Market

2 scenerios:
1) Head to Paddington Underground Station (Approx. 1/2 hour ride). If arrive Paddinginton Underground Station @ 12:45pm, walk to Little Venice (10 min walk) and take 1pm canel boat to Campen Market
http://www.londonwaterbus.com/timetable/
2) If too rush & too late, then take the next 3pm session canel to Camden Market.
During 1 1/2 hours period, eat lunch around Paddington (leave some food stomach space for Campen Market) & walk around nearby unti 2:30pm.

I fee it is very likely is 2) given the time restraint.
3pm - Take boat canel to Camden Market
3:40pm - Approx. 40 min ride & arrive at Campden Market. Stroll around before market closes @ 6pm - When shops are closed, we leave
6-9pm UNDECIDED WHERE TO GO FOR AFTER THE MARKET
9pm - Go back home

(To be contined in the next message due to limit message words, please see below this message)

Posted by
104 posts

06 Feb (Monday)

8:30am - Breakfast nearby (AROUND LONDON EYE AREA)
9:45am - Line up for London Eye attraction that starts @ 10am
10:45am - Concludes London Eye and start walking from the pedestrian Queens Walk and walk ALL the way to around London Bridge to see the nice river view and take photos
Keep walking either towards to Southwark Bridge or London Bridge and head to Monument direction Skyview Garden
12:30pm - Plan to book 12:30pm for Skyview Garden & stay around 45min
1:15pm - Quick lunch
2pm - Head to Notting Hill to Portobello Market? UNLESS YOU HAVE A BETTER SUGGESTION?
6pm - Head to Leicester Square Station for dinner, browse shops, M & M World and chinatown (as they open till late)
10pm - Go back

The next morning, head to airport in the morning. Hopefully this itinerary will be all good

Would be appreciated for any feedback!

PS: Final thing....given the no. of days itinerary above that we intend to travel, how much you think I should top up my Oyster Card for the first visit is enough? 20 pound? 30? etc

Thanks

Posted by
703 posts

Wow that's a very detailed itinerary. We've been to London once and have visited a couple of the places you mention.

Westminster Abbey - I would allow a full hour to soak it all in. We actually attended a short service while there, where we took communion. It was one of the highlights of a very wonderful trip to London & Paris. Even without that, an hour would be good to plan. I wouldn't rush a visit to such a beautiful and historic place.

Tower of London - 2 to 3 hours should be fine. We stayed about 2.5 hours there.

Some of the places we also enjoyed in London - Pubs all over the city (great places to eat), Borough Market, Harrod's Department Store & Selfridges (I'm a big Mr Selfridge fan), Churchills War Rooms, Buckingham Palace (we saw the changing of the guards and the horses parade nearby), Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Museum. We also did a couple of London Walks tours. Whatever you do, relax your pace and really enjoy your time there.

Posted by
104 posts

Thanks for the input Diana

It may be a bit rush to some poeple or you may think "Why do straight away when you board off the plane?"
In fact we did it on purpose because we never like to go on a holiday and arrive late afternoon. I like this plan that arrives in the early morning and then do the holiday striaght away.

I do agree in a way its a bit rush but as a first timer, we wanna soak in as much as possible first like a trial and if we really love it, we will come back again next time and do it in a much more slow pace.

To be honest, we are not a very historical type of people but when people say it is a MUST go to this castle and that castle, we will just go there and get the feel of it. Maybe we will stay for a long long time like some people would do or otherwise we might just walk along as in very general/fast pace? I dunno but most likely its like skimming through. Because even historial places like in China or Australia, we just skimmed through, but maybe for castles may be different, so we will see

In regards for food, we would love to check out whats good but haven't done so yet.

I heard poeple say St Katherine Dock is good for lunch and view because its less touristy so I am not sure if that is true for the locals or better stick with the restaurants in the Westminister area though

Posted by
3941 posts

You can get as much or as little out of the Tower as you want - when we went in 2014, we spent almost 5 hrs! We did the yeoman warders (Beefeaters) tour - that was great fun and I'd recommend it. And we pretty much explored every nook and cranny. We first went in 2008 but only had about 50 min before closing, so we managed to see the Crown Jewels and part of the wall, so this time we did it all...mind you, it was a lovely early Sept day so weather/daylight was on our side. We also stopped for a few snacks, prob about 30 min of sitting. We had about a 15 min wait to see the jewels, so not bad.

I notice one day you have - head back to room at 10pm - I think in Feb with short daylight hours and chill, you may not want to be out all day - but you know what you are capable of of course.

If I've learned anything in my few trips to Europe (well, to anywhere) - things will take longer than you think. You most likely will mess up the public transport or there will be a delay...you'll just miss the bus and the next one doesn't come for 20 min, or there is (my fav...not) a 'passenger action' on the tube and you gotta walk to the next station because this one isn't moving for now.

So try not to plan your days too much down to the minute - give yourself some breathing space for sure - don't rush off from something you're enjoying so you can tick the next thing off. Plan to have a few things that if you don't see them, there is always next time - and plan to have a next time. I've been to the British Museum 3 times and still haven't seen it all. It was our 4th visit to London before we finally did Westminster Abby!

Posted by
16936 posts

We really love staying on the South Bank and hope you do too! You may want to walk the Thames Path east from there more than once---lots of cafes and restaurants at all levels (more casual places near the National Theatre, moe upscale grouped up near Tower Bridge). I always enjoy the walk and the views along there.

Do heed Nichole's comments about transit times---there can be delays on the Tube and buses can get stuck in traffic, particularly in late afternoon. We found it impossible to get on the Tube near 5pm on a weekday, and avoided that for the rest of the three weeks we spent in London. You get a great view of the city from the upper level of a city bus---it is well worth taking the time to figure them out. There are lots of useful bus stops near Waterloo station----consult the Transport for London website for guidance.

Wimbledon----be sure to arrive early at the entrance for your tour. We got there two minutes late (literally) thanks to a taxi driver who did not know how to find the All England Tennis Club ( apparently The Knowledge does not include Wimbledon). He wasted ten minutes driving around, then let us out in the High Street to find it ourselves. Fortunately there was a map close by and we ran the few blocks to the entrance.

The group was gathered 50 feet away, just inside the gate, but the ticket seller would not let us in, despite the tears of our disappointed 12-year-old daughter.

Posted by
3551 posts

Wow! Organized is good but allow for flexibility. London is one of the great tourist cities of the world to be savored not rushed. Allow for changes.
Jet lag will hit that first day, so slow down a bit. And it always takes longer from place to place than u may plan. Go with the flow and u will enjoy your short stay more. If i see 2. Locations in london in one day plus meals then that is it.
Enjoy your visit and plan for february weather, which may keep u indoors from time to time.

Posted by
3823 posts

This may come in handy. Bus map for London. Print on a color printer as large as you can get it on one sheet of paper.
http://content.tfl.gov.uk/bus-route-maps/key-bus-routes-in-central-london.pdf

Several useful bus lines run by Waterloo and the London Eye.

A useful bus line for you is the one that is light green on the map. It stops at Waterloo and the London Eye.
It's the "RV1". Take it north from Waterloo; it takes you to Covent Garden.
Take RV1 to the east, it will run along through the south bank area to Tower Bridge, across Tower Bridge, and stop at Tower Hill/Tower of London.

The "139" is the pale gray line that leaves Waterloo, goes north across the river, and to Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, and on to Oxford Circus/Oxford Street where all the fancy shops are.

139 then continues on to Marble Arch, Baker Street, and then north to Abbey Road.

The London city buses are a good way to do some sightseeing. You will see many of the iconic sights of London out the windows of the buses on these two routes.

Posted by
3823 posts

A comment on your Saturday schedule.

You wrote,
"-After dinner start walking in Regent Street and then turn left at Oxford Circus.....walk Oxford Street all the way to Marble Arch. Then take Tube back home."

For a more scenic ride home, look at the bus information I gave you in my above post.

You could catch the #139 bus at Marble Arch or at Oxford Circus, traveling south, and it would take you all the way home to Waterloo.

You would see a lot more than taking the tube. You would go through Trafalgar Square, with all its lights on at night. And go over Waterloo bridge over the river, with a view of the lights of the city as you cross the bridge back to Waterloo.

Posted by
104 posts

Thanks Lola, Nicole and JS for the tips
I will surely enjoy it and also allow for time flexibility for that =)

Rebbeca:
Thanks for the bus map, it will be helpful for sure so I am keeping it!
In fact I like riding buses but sometimes u dunno which buses to go for given u dunno where to get off but since u said it goes all the way to Waterloo, then its even better because we love the views and I have no doubt it will be better than the Tube!

So when we take the buses back home to Waterloo from Oxford Circus, I assume we can use the Oyster card and that includes Zone 1 2 section or?

Thanks once again

Posted by
3941 posts

Oh yes Lola - thinking about trying to use the Tube at rush hour - a few times people were packed in so tight, we'd just stand there and have to wait for the next one to come along and make sure we were at the front...

Posted by
104 posts

Emma,

Thanks for the tip, I am aware of that I mean the London Pass we purchased includes it as well so its free and we planned to use it after going Tower Of London (from that bus stop) back to Waterloo home so basically I am using it just 1 time and after the attraction and its going to be a 20 min ride, so why not make use of it right? I def. will not use it as the main transportation since I heard people like you said, not reliable, always late etc, so I guess using it once during when I head back home (around 5pm) sounds good, no? =)

Maybe I have high energy levels, normally when I go holiday, I tend to choose that arrive on the spot in the morning. As long as I can get some sleep in the plane and have some coffee, I am good to go and that is why I chose to go back early on the first day like after 6pm and get some early rest or otherwise if it was other times, as you see on my itinerary, I would have gone for nice dinner and some walking!

And thank you for your care. The airbnb host allow me to drop my baggage )thank god), so its not a problem. =)

TUBE - I know we should try to avoid rush hour. A few things

1) We are hopping on a plane the next afternoon at 12:15pm, so what time should we take the Tube to avoid the crowd? I am aware that during weekdays, morning is like 7:30am to 9am as peak period right?

2) What about after work? What times should we try to avoid the Tube?

3) And weekends? (for morning and afternoon)?

Thanks

Posted by
2785 posts

I would strongly recommend that you take the train from Paddington Station to Windsor, it's a 35 minute train ride. You have to change in Slough, simple just cross over to other platform. Once in Windsor exit train, turn to your left , walk up to the street and you will see the castle across the street.

Posted by
1856 posts

Mike,

You don't mention how large your group is but if large enough you may want to think about taking taxis to get around town. With larger groups it becomes more cost effective, especially for short trips.

I've found the people who work for TFL which runs the tube and bus service to be very helpful. So don't hesitate to ask for directions or help. I'm sure if you ask a bus driver for a certain stop they would make an effort to announce it upon arrival. Also for riding buses, especially at night, I find it useful to have google maps open so that I know when I am going close to my stop.

Enjoy your trip.

Posted by
3823 posts

Mike, In your most recent post, you wrote:

"Thanks for the tip, I am aware of that I mean the London Pass we purchased includes it as well so its free and we planned to use it after going Tower Of London (from that bus stop) back to Waterloo home so basically I am using it just 1 time and after the attraction and its going to be a 20 min ride, so why not make use of it right? I def. will not use it as the main transportation since I heard people like you said, not reliable, always late etc, so I guess using it once during when I head back home (around 5pm) sounds good, no? =)"

  1. The best way back to Waterloo from the Tower of London is the RV1 city bus. Get on it at Tower Hill, tap your Oyster Card once. Take a seat. The RV1 bus will go south over Tower Bridge, then travel along the south bank neighborhood, then arrive at the Waterloo and London Eye areas (two separate stops). This is the fastest way home to your apartment. Should take, from start to finish, 10 minutes.

2.Are you saying that the London Pass you've purchased includes the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus? If so, take full advantage of it.

People are saying "Don't use the Hop-On-Hop-Off for transportation." This is absolutely true. The London city buses are far more useful than this for transportation, and of course, so is the tube.

But DO use it to take the full loop ride. The full loop ride takes about 2 hours, and goes by all the major sights in London. It is a good quick way to see all the sights. Some HOHO bus companies have 2 routes or even 3 routes that are all included with the Pass. If this is the case, take all the sightseeing routes the company has that they include in one ticket (the one included with your London Pass). And stay on for the full loop of each route. You can take a sandwich and drink with you to munch on while you enjoy the ride.
EDIT/ADDED: I just checked. Your London Pass HOHO bus company has 5 routes.

If your London Pass that you've already purchased does not include the HOHO bus, do not purchase the HOHO separately.

Here is the link to the London Pass that I assume you bought:
https://www.londonpass.com/london-attractions/hop-on-hop-off-bus-tour.html

Posted by
1856 posts

Emma,

Thank you for the update regarding the buses, it's been awhile since I've been on one.

Posted by
3823 posts

To comment on something in your original question. You wrote:

05 (Sunday)
3pm - Take boat canel to Camden Market
3:40pm - Approx. 40 min ride & arrive at Campden Market. Stroll around before market closes @ 6pm - When shops are closed, we leave
6-9pm UNDECIDED WHERE TO GO FOR AFTER THE MARKET
9pm - Go back home

Let me address UNDECIDED WHERE TO GO FOR AFTER THE MARKET.

This would be an ideal time to catch the Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus (which you have already paid for with your London Pass).

This would give you an exciting ride by all the sights of London. You can ride the HOHO bus for as long as you want; in other words, if you are having fun, keep riding. The HOHO Pass is good for 1 calendar day. The whole purpose of this is to do a full loop around the city, staying on the bus continuously, making sure you get a look at all the iconic sights. At this point, your feet may be hurting from walking and standing all day. So it's a good way to rest at the end of the day, but still being on the move, seeing some sights.

The HOHO bus will take you to a location near your apartment eventually. Check the map that is included on the London Pass website I gave you in my last post, to see where you can get on near Camden, and where you will want to get off for your apartment.

Most HOHO bus tours include a ride on a boat on the river. So check the information on the London Pass to see which boat line this includes. There are several different boat companies giving rides on the river. One of them will be the one that is included with the London Pass.

This is something you could do after you finish your HOHO bus ride; a ride on the river Sunday evening, as all the lights in London will be beautiful after dark.

Posted by
3823 posts

To address your most recent post. You wrote:

"TUBE - I know we should try to avoid rush hour. A few things
1) We are hopping on a plane the next afternoon at 12:15pm, so what time should we take the Tube to avoid the crowd? I am aware that during weekdays, morning is like 7:30am to 9am as peak period right?
2) What about after work? What times should we try to avoid the Tube?
3) And weekends? (for morning and afternoon)?"

I will leave a good bit of this for Emma to comment on.

But I will say, "during weekdays, morning is like 7:30am to 9am as peak period right?"--Yes, you are right.

But we should wait and see what Emma says about this.

When we were in London in May of 2016, we took the tube out to Heathrow for our flight home. We traveled during rush hour, Leaving about 7:00 AM and arriving at Heathrow 45 minutes later. We did not have a huge crowd in our tube car.

Are you planning to check in at the airport three hours before your flight? That would put you traveling the tube during rush hour, which is doable.

If you want to take a cab out, I would start earlier than rush hour. This is sometimes easier because you will have all your luggage with you. If you have several people traveling with you, a cab to the airport is not all that expensive per person. It can save a lot of hassle if you have a lot of luggage with you.

I have the email address of a very good London cabbie who does fair pricing. If you want that info, I will PM it to you. He gave my husband his business card when we were in London. We used him for several trips. And will use him again next time we go to London.

Posted by
104 posts

Thanks Emma & Rebecca!

Thanks for the cab recommendation but we try to avoid taking cab and take public transportation if possible, because we are on a budget. Its just the 2 of us anyway but if you say 4-5 people, then YES, take a cab would be more justified. Both of us is just taking 1 large luggage and a very small luggage (along with 2 small backpack), so I believe we will be comfortable like that. We even had 2 large luggage strolling around before in Japan while taking the speed train/train station at times and we were still able to cope with it =)

If i recall correctly, we NEVER take a cab in other countries when travelling for holiday other than in Dubai because public transportation was not that convenient and taxi was one of them so we often had to take one to some destinations we wanna go but the fares was not expensive though.

Just out of curiousity, how much does it cost per person from Heathrow to Waterloo (like said, my flight arrives at 5am, so assuming we take the 7am to Waterloo via Green Park)? 7 pounds??

And given the no. of days for my itinerary that we intend to travel, how much you think I should top up my Oyster Card on the very first visit? 20 pound? 30 pounds etc??

Thanks again!

Posted by
1225 posts

You are a planner like me!! My family teases me about that so glad to see I'm not the only one. My sister and I are going next spring, so great discussion. Having been before I would say 2 hours for Westminster for the history and magnificent beauty to soak in. The Tower you can do in just a few hours, buy I'm a history buff, so we'll be spending the better part of a day there. Have a great trip!