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London 2020 - Where to Go??

I will be going back to London in the spring of 2020. I have been to London several times. I went in 2018 and 2017 to London. Next year I will be in London for two weeks with some day trips. This trip will be all about going to places I have not been to and a few I want to go back to like the British Museum and Greenwich which I have not been to since 2005. I tend to stay in museums for longer periods of time and have lunch in the museum so that after lunch I stay about another hour for a total of three to four hours to see a large museum.

I would love to get suggestions on where to go that I have not been to and that is not on my list this year. What am I missing and have not thought of and if possible to go next year and if not able to then will go on a return to London.

I have been to Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace ( inside for a day tour and the Queens Mews and Queens Gallery), Hampton Court, Victoria and Albert Museum, National Gallery of Art, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britian, Tate Modern, Forum & Mason for tea and to see the store, Harrods, some London Walks during the day and the pub walks too, St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, four plays, Churchill War rooms ( twice), British Library, Tower of London, three times, Covent Garden, Wallace Collection, Sir John Sloanes House Museum, St Martins in the Field Church and of course several pubs and some of the parks including Hyde Park where I saw the Prince Albert Memorial.

My plans for the days I will be in London are not totally filled all day as I like to plan out the mornings and then see where the day takes me but I always carry my list of what to see and do as to make sure I make the most of the day.
I also take into account on days that it may rain, then I go to a museum and if the day is nice I try to do all my outdoor sites on the good weather days.

Here is a list of what I plan to do in London including day trips from London:

I am not counting my travel day as day one. I fly to London and arrive the same day.

Day one: Chelsea Physics Gardens meal at the Suprise Pub
Day Two: National History Museum and 7PM Pub Walk with London Pubs
Day Three: Portobello Market ( on Saturdays) weather pertmitting maybe walk across the Tower bridge
Day Four: 2 House Museums, 18 Stafford Terrace & Leighton House Tour London Pub walk at 7PM
Day Five: Greenwich and boat ride
Day Six: Kew Gardens
Day Seven: Imperial War Museum
Day Eight: British Museum
Day Nine: Bought tkt to got to Becky's Secret Cottage ( in the Cotswold, it is a tour)
Day Ten: Museum of London, The Royal Exchange, shops and Forum & Mason now has a resturant inside), 7PM Pub Walk
Day 11: Camden Market
Day 12: London Walks: Highgate Village and after Highgate Cemetery or Kenwood House
Day 13: Not sure:
Day 14: Downton Abbey tour - bought tkts to see Highclere
Day 15: See two plays, one in the afternoon and one in the evening with dinner between the two plays
Day 16: Travel home

I also want to go to the Apsley House, Banqueting Hall, Sky Garden ( will make my reservations prior to leaving), a concert at St Martins the Field church, not on sale yet, too soon, Liberty London, Hays Galleria. And maybe tea at Rules. All this in the afternoons. I have not figured out what days to do these things but they are on my list. Maybe some London walks if I finish my museums or have a free day. One of days I hope to do Evensong at St Paul's. I want to hear music and I understand that Westminster does not have music in their Evensong.

I am doing four day trips, Kew Gardens, Greenwich, Downton Abbey Tour and Becky's Secret Cottage. I don't want to do any more day trips and I will not be going to Cambridge or Oxford on this tour. If I am able to get back to London in the future I will make it a point to go to either Cambridge or Oxford.

I appreciate any comments and suggestions and recommendations on adding to my trip.


Posted by
1221 posts

Check the special exhibits scheduled for the big museums during your trip. Some of them like the Pink Floyd one at the Victoria & Albert a few years back can not only be well worth it if they match your interests but also popular enough with others that it's good to buy tickets before you go.

Posted by
564 posts

I’m in the same situation. I’ve been to london several times and seen every thing you’ve listed. I’m going in May 2020 for a week and my trip objective is to attend the Chelsea flower show. In my research of other things to do, we are going to see dennis severs house, have afternoon tea at lady dinahs cat emporium. We are going to see witness for the prosecution in an old courtroom in county hall, see the show “the play that went wrong”, and a day trip to Bletchley.
In the past we have taken walk tours of the inns of court, sat in the visitor gallery of the old bailey.
We’ll have lunch at spitafield market.
And visit the saatchi gallery and the welcome museum. We have visited the sherlock holmes museum and 221b baker street. We are going to take a Beatles walking tour and visit the abbey road crosswalk. My wife wants to visit the charles dickens museum. Hope that gives you more ideas.

Posted by
27337 posts

I was going to suggest the Leighton House, but I see you already have it planned. I enjoyed the Design Museum (near Leighton House) a great deal. I recommended it to a friend who I think was a bit hesitant about it, but she did go and liked it a lot. It is a donation-requested museum, but if there is a special exhibition, that will likely be rather expensive.

I found a lot more to interest me in the Imperial War Museum than I expected and ended up making 4 or 5 multiple-hour trips there in order to see it all. It seems to have frequent small special exhibitions, and I've enjoyed the ones I've seen (over the course of 2 or 3 trips). The Holocaust exhibition (which I believe is permanent) is excellent.

I took and enjoyed the London Walks Highgate walk, but I will admit that the neighborhood wasn't as visually interesting to me as what I saw on the Hampstead walk. The Highgate walk ends relatively near the cemetery, which is convenient. The beginning of the walk is quite hilly, but with your sightseeing schedule I can see that you don't have any mobility issues!

The Barbican Centre is an art venue that has some interesting exhibitions. I believe some are free (probably donation-requested).

I will second the suggestion to pay attention to special exhibitions that may be running and of interest. I often learn about something right down my alley from posters in the Underground.

Posted by
613 posts

Just walk the streets, especially in Chelsea and Belgravia.

London Zoo.

Posted by
2783 posts

Postman’s Park is interesting, also the Old Operating Theatre Museum.

Posted by
8802 posts

Walk along the Thames Path or the Regents Canal path.

Tube to an outer suburb like Chiswick Park. Leave the station and turn left heading up to Chiswick High Street. Have a nosh and then if a walker head to towards the Chiswick House and Gardens.

Or tube to Hammersmith and walk along the Thames to the Dove pub for lunch.

Or get off at Putney Bridge and eXplore Hurlingham Books and enjoy lunch at the adjacent Eight Bells.

Maybe with an early start you can include a visit the Museum of water and Steam when you visit Kew Gardens.

Consider adding small but very enjoyable Alexander Fleming museum to your list as well as Evensong at St Brides.

And nowhere in your list do I see that you’ve explored Brick Lane and or Spitafields. Lots of eye candy in a vibrant and intriguing neighborhood.

Lastly the Hampstead Heath provides a lovely excursion. Visit the Keats house, then walk into the Heath and climb Parliment Hill for a lovely POV of London if weather is nice, then if interested keep walking over to Highgate Cemetary. Long day but interesting none the less.

Visit Granary Square and the Coal Drop yards behind St Pancras.

Check Timeout London online for special events, shows, gallery offerings etc. I always find something new to experience by doing this or after you’ve arrived in London head to the nearest church and check out their notice boards. You’ll find intel about boot sales ( boots being the trunks of cars) bake sales, recitals, lectures, etc. Neighbor gatherings that a visitor wouldn’t think or know about.

Posted by
4230 posts

Glad to see you've included the Museum of London on this trip, I don't think it gets the love it deserves. Any James Bond fans in your group? The London Film Museum has a permanent James Bond car collection. It's a fun couple of hours...if you're a fan. Leadenhall Market is a nice place to find a restaurant and wander the shops. Check out La Tasca, great Spanish restaurant.

Posted by
27337 posts

Since you're interested in art, this is something I stumbled on earlier this year. On the way from Westminster Bridge to the Imperial War Museum one must walk under the railroad tracks leading south from Waterloo Station. I happened to walk along Royal Street. In the area where the street passes under the tracks there about two dozen ceramic-tile artworks mounted on the wall. All are based on the works of William Blake, who at one point lived nearby. I found it really cool. I'd say the location is roughly 1/2 mile from the IWM and a comparatively minor detour if you take the Underground to Lambeth North on your way to the museum.

Posted by
1329 posts

Are all the pub walks with London Walks? I’d probably shoot them a quick email as it gets closer. I love London walks but some of them do have a lot of overlap. Although, doing a somewhat similar walk with a different guide can be interesting as s/he may have a completely different perspective. I’ve done a few of the pub walks and they do allow you to get to know the people on the walk. On the rock music pub walk, the guide brought a guitar and played a couple of songs at one of the pubs (the drink prices were reasonable by London standards)

Posted by
759 posts

Ham and Marble houses out near Richmond
Osterley House and Park - easy tube ride
Chiswick House - easy tube ride and walk
Kenwood House - tube ride and a walk over the Heath, wonderful Robert Adams library, a Rembrandt and Vermeer

Posted by
1243 posts

Depending when in spring: the Globe and search for bluebell walks.

Posted by
1205 posts

Thank you everyone for all your interesting and excellent recommendations and suggestions. This has been very helpful in putting together itinerary. It looks like I may even have more to do on another trip to London.

Posted by
14153 posts

On the day you do the Imperial War Museum you might also consider the Garden Museum which is nearby. It's on the grounds of Lambeth Palace just 10 minutes or so away. I've not been there as the last time I was in that area they were closed for their big reno.

If you wind up in the Tower of London area consider popping in to All-Hallows-by-the-Tower which is one of the oldest churches in London.

I'd probably try to intersperse your 2 big museum days, Imperial War Museum and British Museum with Kew in between just to give your brain a change of pace. Although I would try to choose the best weather day for Kew.

I'd probably do Apsley House on the day you do the Natural History Museum. Depending on where your hotel is you could do it first then walk thru Hyde Park until you have to take a left onto Exhibition Road to get to the Natural History Museum.

Posted by
1019 posts

Hi Ann -

Glad you posted this. Watching for ideas too. Sorry we can’t meet up in 2020.

My schedule is leaving May 23 to June 7 for RS so villages/England. Tour. Then heading to cotswolds(chipping Campden via train/taxi. Staying there 4 days to walk the cotswolds and visiting other villages via bus. Staying in self catering cottage. Then head back to London (train) on the 11th and staying thru 15th. We will go to the St. Louis Cardinals games vs cubs. So we have a day and couple of free afternoons. Hoping to meet up with our tour guide Jeannie we had on our 7 day London last year. Love the Beatles idea, James Bond, and never made it to a play or V/A museum and couples of others.

Thanks for more thoughts!


Posted by
279 posts

Since you are a fan of gardens, check out the Columbia Road Flower Market on Sunday mornings. My mom, who got her Master Gardener certificate after retiring, really loved it, and even non-gardener me thought it a lot of fun.