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Avoiding long lines in Britian

In some of Rick's videos he mentions getting reservations so a big tourist site to avoid lines.
What are the major ones I should do this on to avoid a long queue? I will see all the usual: London - British Museur-The Eye-Tower of London-Westminster Abbey, etc. Bath: Roman Baths, etc.
Edinburg: Castle; York: York Minster...


Posted by
5617 posts

You are traveling during the summer months, lines are a fact of life. You can get tickets for the Eye in advance but you are then locked into that time so keep that in mind in planning your site seeing. Same thing with the Tower of London. If you are going to the Abbey for Evensong, the line begins at least 2 hours before admission. The British Museum is free. Research opening and closing times and figure fewer visitors in the evening than during the day there.

Posted by
8293 posts

Also take into account that the weather might not cooperate and your timed ticket for the London Eye might give you a soggy, foggy view of the city.

Posted by
12 posts

What prompted this is that in one of Rick's videos, he goes to the front of the long line at a major attraction (a museum or a church, or a castle, I think, because he has a reserved time. Just trying to remember without having to go through all his videos, or browse his books.

Posted by
11450 posts

Ravie not all sights have line issues. In London many museums are free , so no ticket lines anyways.

Posted by
506 posts

We were just in London a month ago, we did buy tickets on line for the Tower of London before we left home, mainly because it was a bit of a distance from our hotel and we knew we needed to be there pretty early, so it saved some time. We never got into Westminster Abby, it was closed for two days and by the time it opened the line was around the building and we just won't kill half a day waiting in a line. I never really check to see how you could get advance tickets for that, we just found other great things to do. But everything else was very easy to get into. When we went up to York we went to the York Abby which was fantastic and just about the same scale. 1/2 the price and no people!

Posted by
2593 posts

Raivie, you may have seen the Rick Steves Paris video, in which he explains how to use the Paris Museum Pass to go right into the Louvre Museum, bypassing the long line to buy a ticket.

Judy, York Minster is fabulous, and not as crowded (usually) as Westminster Abbey.

Posted by
16852 posts

I do think you were more likely to have seen that tip in a Paris video than one for Britain.

Posted by
11261 posts

The RS video I remember where he specifically said "watch these foolish people waiting in a 2-3 hour line because they didn't get a reservation, and now watch how we skip this humongous line with a reservation" was in Florence, at either the Accademia or the Uffizi (both of which indeed have huge lines in high season).

If you have Rick's England book, he will have details of how to get reservations for sights and whether they are required, recommended, or optional. One thing that does require advance planning, if you're interested, is the Ceremony Of The Keys at the Tower Of London.

Posted by
4521 posts

Another is the closer access to Stonehenge.

Posted by
1976 posts

Crappy weather can be your friend in some situations. A friend and I bought tickets for the Tower of London at 1:00pm in September on a cold rainy day. The weather was bad, but there were no lines and not very many people at the site in general.

Posted by
4 posts

Has anyone used the Fully Flex advance tickets for the London Eye (they allow you to ride any time within a specified week)? My concern is that you can not print at home for these tickets, they must be picked up at the "priority desk". I am thinking that the line could be long even at the "priority desk", and thus defeats the purpose of buying in advance. Would love any advice. Thanks!

Posted by
33 posts

At the Tower of London we got there before 10 (were shooting for 9 but were late), got tickets and walked right in, no line. I followed the advice on this site of where to get tickets, and we went to the Crown Jewels first, etc. I basically would each attraction to plan the details here in America before I went. Then I had a chart in Word, printed and took it with me & each day while I was there would review the details so I knew what was coming the next day. It saved lots of time over there. Google "Tower of London Rick Steves Forum" to get details on that place, then do the next one, etc. It takes some time here, but better here than there.
London Eye we went on a rainy day in May, no line. Great view. Didn't mind being soggy.
Westminister went late in day (accidentally) and maybe a 5 min. line.
Buckingham Palace was horribly crowded for the Changing of the Guards, but don't know what to do about that because even if you're early people will get there later and try to shove you out of the way.
British Museum had no wait and we went midday in May.
Stonehenge we did the early tickets, for 6:15 am. You have to fax a paper request to them but was totally worth it. We were there, all around the stones for an hour with 8 other people. Amazing.
So just research each thing and find the best strategy that will work for your trip. Maybe a Plan A & Plan B. But I'm a planner. I don't like wasting time over there because I didn't do my homework. It won't all go according to plan and that's fine, but at least you have done your research.

Posted by
33 posts

And for almost all attractions if you can get there before 10, you beat the tour groups. If at all possible, don't arrive between 10 and 3. In Bath at the Roman Baths we arrived before 10 and walked right in and got tickets, no line. But we didn't get there at 9 like planned, so it started to get very crowded with tour groups from 10 on. But also, if there's a huge line, go ask someone to make sure you really have to stand in it. At the Roman Baths I saw a big line but asked someone and I guess the big line was for groups because he told us to go right in. No wait. So make sure you are in the right line. We didn't get any tickets in advance because I didn't want to be locked in to a certain day/time, but we went in May, so summer might be different. Not sure when you are going.