I've read lots of great tips on this website, and I'm sure I'll love your feedback!
I am making my first trip to London (with no kids or spouse!) I have only been to Europe one time (Paris/Nice in 1994!) An ex-pat friend has a flat in Notting Hill where I will stay. She is working much of my visit but will join me for outings on weekends.
Please share ideas about this tentative trip plan! I am an obsessive planner and have ready too many guide books from the library. Rick's book was amazing and I actually bought it (will be receiving soon!!!) I also ordered his Brussels/Bruges book. I already bought a London pass with travelcard and the Eurostar tickets to Brussels. So we'll see how that goes! I am a museum/history/Impressionist art freak which is why solo trip is great for me. No whining kids (or spouse) to hurry me!
Wed, Day 1 - arrive Heathrow 9am after overnight flight from east coast USA. Piccadilly line to meet friend at her workplace. I know I'll be tired but no naps! Highlights: National Gallery/National Portrait Gallery. Just generally walking around this part of the city until my friend is done with work! Will buy oyster card at Heathrow but then use travelcard. I could have had it shipped, but that cost more than the fare from Heathrow!
Thurs, Day 2 - London #2: AM: Westminstery Abbey, Banqueting House, Jewel Tower. PM: Kensington Palace with other nearby sites if time permits. Victoria & Albert Museum top of this list.
Fri, Day 3 - Day trip #1: Windsor Castle. PM - shopping in Soho
Sat, Day 4 - London #3: The City -- highlights: St Paul's Cathedral, Museum of London, Tower of London. May do hop-on, hop-off Thames cruise since this came with London Pass and I don't know where else I can fit it in.
Sun, Day 5 - Day trip #2 with friend - Tour to Oxford/Cotswold/Stratford on Avon. Some tour companies also include Warwick Castle. Welcome recommendations on this and particular companies to use!
Mon, Day 6 - London #4: AM - Buckingham Palace, changing of guard, Queen's Gallery, Royal Mew, Guard Museum (this is why I got the London Pass!!). Westminster Evensong arrival by 4:30
Tues, Day 7 - London #5: London Eye, Imperial War Museum, Garden Museum, Tate Britain, Tate to Tate ferry, Tate Modern, Shakespeare's Globe, Bankside Gallery.
Wed, Day 8 - Day trip #3 - love suggestions! Was considering tours: Leeds Castle/Canterbury/Dover or Hampton Palace. Another friend who grew up in Brighton recommends this city.
Thurs, Day 9 - London #6: whatever I missed that I really want to see!
Fri, Day 10 - Eurostar to Brussels with friend. Check-in hotel near Grand-Place and then explore all day
Sat, Day 11 - day trip to Bruges/Ghent. We're discussing other tours - but unlikely - day trip to Amsterdam OR Luxembourg
Sun, Day 12 -- fly home from Brussels at 10am to east coast USA and collapse with exhaustion!
Thanks for the feedback!