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London Itinerary Advice Please?

HI - My husband, my 15 year old daughter and I are traveling to London from July 13 to July 19. Then we're going to the Netherlands for a week, but my husband's family is there so I'll leave that itinerary up to them. Here's my tentative plan:

Sunday - arrive at Heathrow from JFK at 6:30 a.m. I have to call the hotel to see if we can leave our luggage there until the room is ready. I hope so. We are staying near Victoria Station so we can do some walk bys of Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster, etc.. Maybe do the London Eye if it's a nice day and maybe the British museum if we feel like it.

Monday - Be at the Tower of London as soon as it opens. Then St. Paul's Cathedral. I promised my daughter some shopping so maybe we can shop a bit after this or Thames Cruise if weather is nice.

Tuesday - Day trip to Stonehenge - 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Covent Garden/shopping and/or London Eye if we didn't go there yet.

Wednesday - Early departure for Windsor Castle (opens at 9:45). Westminster Abbey.

Thursday - Early departure for Harry Potter Studio Tour (still have to get tickets, but will try to get as early as possible). Harry Potter does not amuse my husband (gasp!) so he'll find a pub or somewhere to chill. Thames Cruise if not already done or cruise to Greenwich.

Friday - Hampton Court Palace. British museum if we haven't yet gone or if we want to go back. It's open later on Fridays.

Saturday - 11:00 a.m. Flight from Gatwick Airport to Amsterdam. How long should I allow to get from Victoria Station to Gatwick?

OK - so any advice? Anything I'm missing?

Posted by
67 posts

I am a first timer as well, but since you took the time to post on my thread I thought I would return the favor. :)

You may already realize, but Stonehenge may be exactly what you want, or a huge disappointment. If you are doing it because it is your "must see", great. If you are interested in it for historical value, consider Avebury.

It is, of course, "to each their own". I just want to make sure you know all the options. :)

Posted by
1780 posts

Have fun! I'm sure others will weigh in with intinerary advice. If your daughter likes Forever 21, look for a Primark. I think there's one near Oxford Circus. Anyway, stuff is trendy but prices are reasonable.

Posted by
45 posts

Thanks Klecser. If it were up to me, I would probably skip Stonehenge and go to Bath or even just stay in London, but my husband only wants to see two things and Stonehenge is one of them.

Posted by
45 posts

Patty, thanks for the recommendation! I'll look for Primark. It sounds like something she would love.

Posted by
70 posts

This I recall from Rick's book because I did it -- be at the Tower before it opens. The ticket booths will be closed. Walk down (literally down hill) towards the gift shop close to the entrance. Buy your tickets in the shop at the counter. Now, go get in the line at the entrance. You are ready! Go directly to the Crown Jewels. Walk thru the building directly to the jewels, not stopping to linger and read the walls. Ta-da! Prepare to be dazzled. Now, you can linger for ages until the space starts to crowd up and you can't take it anymore. There are moving walkways to keep the tourists going past several of the largest displays, but when it's not crowded, you can keep walking backwards until someone else steps on :)

And if you are super early, there's a Starbucks just across the way. Grab a coffee. Early-bird London is the most amazing!

Posted by
45 posts

Thanks Ann. I did read that in the book. I think I'll plan on being there an hour before opening. I'm already an early riser and since I'll be insanely excited to be in London, I'll be up at dawn. My husband and kid will want to murder me.

For anyone familiar with the national rail 2 for 1 deal, do you think I should get the rail travel card as opposed to the Oyster card? Will it be worth the hassle? I'm not on a super tight budget but I do like to save money where I can.

Posted by
27743 posts

I'll be up at dawn. My husband and kid will want to murder me.

Maybe so... days are long in England in summer. Dawn on the 13th of July in London is before 5 am.

Posted by
1202 posts

Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery. Unless, you've visited before, I'd be tempted to eliminate one of your out of London trips and spend the time exploring.

Posted by
3 posts

Just got back from my first trip. The Tower of London is worth getting up early - we ended up spending 4+ hours there (including eating a surprisingly good lunch onsite). Definitely do one of the Yeoman Warder tours that start on the bridge near the entrance. I never would have imagined that I would spend that much time there - and only 90 minutes at the British Museum! Take your daughter to Oxford St for shopping (perhaps after the Museum visit?). Tons of chain stores, Primark included.

Posted by
45 posts

Thank you all for your feedback!

After talking to my husband, he agrees that we should skip Stonehenge. He didn't realize that it would be a 1 1/2 to 2 hour bus ride just to get there. The time would be better spent seeing more in London.

Posted by
45 posts

Does anyone know if we can use the 2 for 1 national rail discount to buy Tower of London tickets at the gift shop?

Posted by
221 posts

If your husband doesn't want to do Harry Potter, he may find the Science Museum more interesting. Its very easy to get to from the South Kensington tube station and it's free entry. If he's more into transportation, he may like the Royal Air Force museum at Colindale (also on the tube lines) and/or the Transit Museum in Covent Garden. If he's more into history and is missing out on Stonehenge, the Museum of London may be more of his thing - it's in the Barbican/St Pauls area and covers 2000 years of London's history. He can see things from Roman times through Saxons and Tudors to the Great Fire and Georgians to modern London. There's even a piece of the original Roman wall that circled the old city.

Posted by
164 posts

Hi Bonnie, just wanted to pitch in with a couple of sites my husband loved - he really enjoyed both the Imperial War Museum (website says it is due to reopen on July 14) and the Churchill War Rooms. if your husband is into military history, these may appeal to him. I hope you have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
45 posts

Thank you mincepie and Deanna! I think he would love the Science Museum (and I would not) and also the Imperial War Museum. I'm going to make both of these suggestions to him since I would hate for him to just sit in the hotel waiting for us while we're at the HP exhibit.

Posted by
18 posts

I can't resist saying this, we are both over 60 and really, really enjoyed the Harry Potter experience. And, I have no idea how we ended up with wands.