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London Itinerary

Hello, we are traveling to London for our first time.

We are traveling with 1 adult, 1 Senior and a 16 year old.

I would love some help with this itinerary.
28-Aug Sun Arrive at LHR – We land around 1 in the afternoon so we may just go to the hotel and do nothing, but if we wanted to go out I was considering the Notting Hill Carnival. Maybe take the Thames Clipper in the evening if we don’t go to the Carnival.

29-Aug Mon Hampton Court Palace - On this day they are also having the BBC Goof Food Festival. Would you go this day or switch with Friday? Is the Maze and Gardens worth the extra price?

30-Aug Tue
Tour Westminster Abbey
See Big Ben
See Platform 93/4
See the Shard -Go to either Camden Lock Market or Borough Market

31-Aug Wed
See Changing of Guard
Tour Buckingham Palace I was thinking a 1:00 or 1:30 tour
See Piccadilly Circus
See Trafalgar Square

1-Sep Thu
Stonehenge/Bath/Windsor Castle Tour

2-Sep Fri
Tour Tower of London
Tour London Bridge
See Tower Hill
Thames Clipper

3-Sep Sat Fly Home

Would you recommend the Oyster Card or the Travelcard?
Would love tour guide suggestions for the Stonehenge/Bath/Windsor Castle Tour.
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Posted by
3661 posts

Tour Westminster Abbey
See Big Ben
See Platform 93/4
See the Shard -Go to either Camden Lock Market or Borough Market

This is an all over town day. Suggest 9-3/4 is for younger children.

Posted by
3 posts

See a show in West End. See a Shakespeare play at the Globe Theatre (cheap tickets if you stand). And yes, see the British Museum and National Gallery at least!

Posted by
5865 posts

I usually do not encourage people to plan more, but you could fit a bit more in easily. As others mentioned, your itinerary is really lacking in museums, which London has great ones, and most are free. If I could augment your itinerary....

Sunday, after settling in the hotel, you really should do something to help jetlag, the Carnival would be great, you could also just do a walk starting at Westminster, up Whitehall, taking in Trafalgar Square, and into Piccadilly, maybe over to Covent Garden, having dinner somewhere along the way.

On Tuesday, Westminster takes a couple hours in the morning, so on your way to Kings Cross Station, I suggest at least a short stop at the British Museum, if only to take in some of the Egyptian items and the Greek section. Near Kings Cross is also the British Library, again, it could be short, less than a half hour, to take in the Magna Carta, Maps, and other significant documents. all on the way to the Camden Markets.

On Wednesday, you could easily add in the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square, excellent collection of a cross section of art.

Friday, I would think about lunch in Borough Market, then maybe the Imperial War Museum.

Posted by
3187 posts

You must go to the British Museum! If your teen is a Harry Potter fan, you should try to go to Warner Brothers Studio Harry Potter-but you may not be able to get tickets this late Imperial War Museum was better before it was redone.

Posted by
5551 posts

I would recommend walking on your first day to get over jet lag, but I wouldn't recommend Notting Hill Carnival, as there are lots of crowds and you will need your wits about you security-wise.

Monday - I think the gardens are worth exploring.

Tuesday - Personally, I would scrap Platform 9 3/4. It's nowhere near the other places this day. Are you just looking at the Shard or going up there? Camden Lock caters for more youthful crowd and is mostly clothing, whereas Borough Market is just food. Tuesday isn't full market day at Borough Market - that's the weekend.

Wednesday - Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square will take 5 minutes to walk through both, so you could add more this day. The National Gallery whilst you are in Trafalgar Square?

Thursday - you can't see much of Stonehenge, Windsor and Bath in one day - you will spend longer in transit than visiting anywhere. Your time is better spent having a full day in Bath, which is easy to do by train from London.

Friday - London Bridge isn't worth seeing - do you mean Tower Bridge? You could visit Greenwich by boat.

You are lacking trips to any galleries or museums - most are free. Personally, I would recommend The Globe unless you are an avid Shakespeare fan. If you want to pick up a show, discounted tickets are available from the TCKT booth in Leicester Square.

Posted by
2097 posts

Rick Steves has excellent guidebooks and probably has a pocket-size London one. Several people have mentioned the Imperial War Museum which I think is very interesting but The Churchill War Rooms are an amazing walk through history! The actual conference rooms and Churchill's office and other items from the days of directing the war effort against the Nazi regime are preserved.
Have a great trip.
Judy B

Posted by
215 posts

Hello, we are traveling to London for our first time. We are traveling with 1 adult, 1 Senior and a 16 year old. (what a combo)

I would love some help with this itinerary.

Hmm I would revise it to be :

Sunday- Check into your hotel. Buy train tickets and regular tickets to Windsor Palace. Download uber for the UK. Visit the Shard. Have dinner at a nice place...

Monday- Get up early, take earliest possible ticket to Windsor. Visit Windsor palace (3 hours approx). Use your uber app and hire a cab to take you from Windsor to Hampton Court Palace (they are about 20-30 minutes apart from each other or 12 miles (approx). Visit Hampton Court Palace. The maze is....prob not worth your time.. The grounds are amazing and you can get lost in those just as easy .. :) Hop the train back to London, get on the tube, visit Picadilly circus and eat there.

Tuesday- Visit Westminster Abbey and Big Ben (this will take you probably about 5 hours). Please be aware the 9 3/4th platform is 1) hard to find (rather-hope you have a gps on your phone) and also you will wait in line for probably 2.4 hours to get a picture. Now maybe if you go there really off hours (like late at night or early in the morning its not like this....but I went during the day on a week day in May and it was crazy). If your 60+ year old is quite spry you could walk to Trafalgar square (its about 2 miles).

Wednesday- Buckingham Palace (I'd do this early before it crowds up if feasible-you might be able to get tickets online ahead of time), Changing of the Guard.

Thursday- Stonehenge-Bath tour..(cut Windsor or you will see none to little of Bath). I'm also half hesitant to say get a Bath tour... I'm wondering (though not sure) if its feasible for you to take the train yourself to Bath in the AM visit the Abbey and Baths before noon, then hop on a tour of stonehenge in the afternoon that dumps you back off in London via Bath...that would be the most time-effective.

Friday- Tower of London (AM--get there when it opens), Tower Bridge, Tower Hill, Clipper

Yes do get the Oyster Card..its very useful. I'd recommend putting around $35 on can always add more later if needed.

I hope you realize that your itinerary will be rather trying.. things in London take time to get to, and lots of time to visit. You will probably be extremely exhausted by the end of day 3....0_o... If your 60+ year old is really spry I think its feasible. I did a less ambitious itinerary (and stayed up the street from Big Ben) where we were all under 35 and we were dead tired each day at about 7pm.

Posted by
2939 posts

Some of the sights on your list can be a "drive by" instead of walking to them. Piccadilly Circus is one of these. Just a glance is enough. Trafalgar Square CAN be a drive-by, unless you want to linger along with the crowds around the black lion statues, fountain and Nelson's Column. If you are at Trafalgar Square the two main sights are The National Gallery and the church of St Martin-in-the- Fields. If you have no interest in those two sights, then Trafalgar Square could be a drive by sight for you.

A good way to get a quick view around London is to take one of the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tours. One of the companies that does it best is the Original Tour. They go by both Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, so you can get a good look. They go by all the "must see" sights of London. And you can hop off anytime you want, look around a sight, then get back on the next hop-on bus that comes by. The tickets are good for 24 hours.
Notice this on their home page:
"All tickets include 3 FREE Walking Tours, a FREE Thames River Cruise Pass, FREE Kid's Club and unlimited access to all our bus tour routes." There are several different routes. You can go on all of them.
Route map:

Posted by
7124 posts

With 3 full days to see the best of London I tend to steer people towards a schedule something along these lines.

Day #1
Houses of Parliament (Big Ben)
Westminster Abbey
Churchill War Rooms
Trafalgar Square
National Gallery

Day #2
Buckingham Palace
St James's Park & Green Park
Piccadilly Circus
Covent Garden
British Museum

Day #3
Tower of London
Tower Bridge
St Pauls Cathedral
Shakespeare's Globe
Tate Modern

Posted by
1780 posts

We visited Hampton Court Palace on the final day of their huge flower show. Crowds were only an issue for the loo at the station. The grounds are huge and most people were attending the show and there were no crowds in the palace. When we bought our train tickets, the station agent told us the cheapest option was to use the coupon from the 2-1 brochure with our train ticket at the palace ticket window. The brochures were on the ticket counter. We weren't that impressed with the maze, but the grounds are pretty impressive. However, you can see them from the windows of the palace. It may depend on how much time you have.

Research the best places to "see" changing of the guard. Unless you are exceptionally tall, it's more of a "glimpse" than a "see". RS guidebook suggests standing on the statue platform across the street. We scheduled our Buckingham Palace visit to coincide with the change so we heard the band from inside- just a thought.

Posted by
1 posts

Things to do in London - Craft Beer Festival '16

A celebration of great beer, passionate brewers, and a true beer city is back. This, our fourth year, will be the biggest and best year. Another great beer party of a quality London has not seen before! We will be packed to rafters with truly exceptional beer, great food and wonderful musical artists to boot.

Posted by
6359 posts

I'd go with djp_syd's suggested itinerary. On the day of your arrival, once you've unpacked and freshened up definitely go back out and experience London's hustle and bustle.

With the Oyster card and the tube you can easily see some sights or just get familiar with your neighborhood. Closest ATM, coffee shop, market, etc.

If you must visit something to do with Harry Potter (and Platform 9 3/4 truly isn't much but a silly photo opt) I suggest the following addition to the itinerary when you are visiting the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. After seeing those iconic London treasures walk up to the gorgeous glass covered Leaden Hall Marketplace and have the 16 year old search for the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron. After its discovered and photos taken, have lunch.

If you are interested in visiting a traditional pub and yes the 16 year old is allowed inside, the venerable Princess of Prussia is close by. Old school pub has not and hopefully will not morph into a gastro pub or wine bar. Use Google maps street view to see how close all these locations are.

Great city. Enjoy yourselves.

Posted by
11 posts

After much more review and reading all of the suggestion I have revised the itinerary as below.


Aug 28 Arrive - LHR at 13:30 check in at Holiday Inn Express Wandsworth/Boat Tour/Eat somewhere on the river /London Eye

Day 2 British Museum/Platform 9 3/4 Camden Market/Canal Boat to Little Venice/London Eye if we didn't do this the first day

Day 3 Windsor Castle see the changing of the guard

Day 4 Big Ben/Westminster Abbey/Buckingham Palace ( We won't be seeing the changing of the guard)/Piccadilly Circus/Trafalgar Square/National Gallery

Day 5 Stonehenge/Bath Tour we are using a tour bus company but haven't decided which one.

Day 6 Tower of London/London Bridge/Tower Hill / Borough Market/Shard

Day 7 Fly Home

Posted by
110 posts

A late dissent (and a wave from an ex-Kearns resident)

Platform 9 3/4 is more than a sign. Depending on when you go by, there can be a queue of up to 50 families, waiting with varying levels of "patiently" for their photo op with the trolley. There is also a large HP themed gift shop immediately next to it (Including a poor sod whose job it is to stand just outside of your photo and artfully hold your house-scarf so it looks like you're running through the platform gate). Jokes aside, the shop is full of fun HP merchandise (we did most of our themed souvenir shopping there).

In other news, I would add Borough Market is only open for lunch on Tuesdays. You might be better served folding that into the day you do the Tower, the (Tower) Bridge, and such.

Have fun!

Posted by
697 posts

London Walks does a great day trip to Bath. You spend the day there and have enough time to see everything & explore. I agree with others on the museums. London museums are great and free. My personal favorite was Victoria & Albert which is near Harrods. We also enjoyed Borough Market and had a nice picnic from food we purchased from the vendors there. Enjoy your trip!