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London Itinerary

If you fine folks could please let me know your thoughts, it would be appreciated.

Late May, early June

Friday: Arrive LHR 0645, drop off luggage at apartment. River cruise to Greenwich. Check-in apartment around 1600, short nap, and then out to walk/eat, and stay awake until 2100 or so. This is a day in which we' re a little cranky.

Sunday: Buckingham-Windsor tour with a group. This has been prearranged with a guide.

Monday: Train to Liverpool, tours of city ( and yes, including Beatles), return to London. Again, this is with a group and a guide.

Tuesday: London Walks St. Paul's (not McCartney). Afternoon walking tour "Past the Palace."

Wednesday: London Walks Beatles; afternoon British Library

Thursday: Tower (early), afternoon Churchill War Room (will get get reservation time if possible)

Friday: Westminster/Parliament tour with group, 0930-1330
Saturday: Cliffs of Dover/Canterbury with group, all day
Sunday: Depart LHR 1330

If we have time we'll fit in Kensington Palace, and any other suggestions you might have. Thank you.

Posted by
27713 posts

Sunday: Buckingham-Windsor tour with a group. This has been prearranged with a guide.

What's that one? It can't be for visiting Buckingham Palace because that only opens in the summer when the Queen is up north, and you are doing your walk past the Palace on Tuesday afternoon; and it is unlikely Buckingham as in the county town near Milton Keynes because not many people go there and I can't imagine what a tourist would go there for, unless you are meaning Stowe Gardens???

On Wednesday afternoon did you mean British Library, as you wrote, or did you mean British Museum which doesn't appear elsewhere on your list? More interest in books or stuff?

Posted by
1822 posts

Nigel, yes, British Library for several interests including the Beatles display. I know, not the most intellectual pursuit but I'm a big fan of the Fab Four.

The British Museum is on the if-we-can-fit-in-in list.

Maybe I need to reconsider the Buckingham tour.

Emma, we are staying in Southwark. I thought being outside on a cruise to Greenwich and then some walking around there would be a good way to stay awake until we can check-in about 1600. I'm not sure if a museum is the way to go but heck if I know.

As for the train we will reserve seats early and deal with the crowds.

Yes, we may drop and add things to parts of the itinerary. We're not locked in to everything.

Thank you.

Posted by
1822 posts

Every evening we relax with dinner and then walk around, probably have a few drinks and in bed about 2300 or so. That gives us some unscheduled down time from, say, 1900-2300 each day. Also, if we're feeling harried with the "schedule," we will drop or rearrange on the fly.

I generally don't like being with a group for an extended period of time, like a week, but for a day here and there it's nice to let someone else deal with things.

Posted by
2300 posts

Regarding your Thursday, we visited the Tower of London on a weekday and got there about 9 and stayed until 2:30, lots to see (my 2nd favorite spot after Hamptons Court Palace). I didn't get to see the Churchill War rooms, so I can't comment, however because of there being so much to see at the Tower, check how long you'll need at the War Rooms and how late they're open. I'd recommend reservations. I had a free couple of hours one day and wandered there at about 11am and the line-up for those of us without reservations was down the street, someone told me a 2 hour wait.
*If you decide not to do the war Rooms on the same day, we visited an old Pub called the George Inn. The original Inn dates back to 1542, the current building dates to 1676. A sign says Shakespeare and Dickens both frequented the Inn. It's nothing spectacular but it crossed a bucket item off my list of visiting an historical pub. It is about a 20 minute walk from the Tower. Cross the Tower bridge, turn west and walk along the river to the London bridge. Turn south for a couple of blocks. Easy to find on google Maps. We visited it in the evening and then walked across the London Bridge and got some great photos of the Tower Bridge lit up.

Posted by
2318 posts

I think this sounds like a fine itinerary, day trips mixed with around town and a focus on something you love--the Beatles; I also enjoyed seeing the display of handwritten lyrics and such at the British Library. I am not fond of guided tours unless absolutely necessary as I like to wander at will, but did enjoy one that included Windsor Castle, Oxford and Stonehenge on my first trip to London, and last year to Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey!) and other sites that would have been difficult to include on my own.

Allow a good 3 hours at the Tower--I've been twice, first time I toured everything with the Yeoman Warders, second time I felt the need to just wander a bit and really went just to observe the ravens for 3 hours. 2-3 hours for the Churchill War rooms and museum about him, which is fascinating--in 2011 I just walked right in, but now it's incredibly popular so do get a reservation, and it's one of the most intriguing sites I've toured, being a big WWII history buff.

Posted by
1822 posts

Christa, yeah, we're still debating some of the guided tours, but we're already booked for Liverpool/Beatles with the National Trust and FabFourCab tours. Really only the National Trust is the "group" part of that day.

That's very helpful, Emma. Thank you.

The guided vs solo tourism is a balance we struck based on past experiences. We could very well get it wrong this time.

Posted by
1220 posts

I’ve done both Beatles London Walks, they’re both great and Richard is a great guide, just be prepared for a lot of walking as some of the sights aren’t particularly close, I’ve done about 25 London Walks and the Beatles Walks covered the most ground, I was definitely ready to sit down with a pint afterwards.

Posted by
1822 posts

Dale we were at Abbey Road Studies way back in 1989. I'm looking forward to seeing it again perhaps for the last time. Wow. 30 years later.

Posted by
9690 posts

On Friday, unless seeing Parliament is a must, I'd do Westminster Abbey on your own. I'd go early and then pay the extra 5GBP for the Verger's Tour. Also download the Westminster Abbey tour app to your phone before you leave home. The audio guide is free but listening to it on your phone with your own ear buds is much nicer. I did a little of it when I was waiting for my Verger tour to start, then went back and repeated some after we were finished.

You might have lunch in the Cellarium cafe near the Cloisters at Westminster Abbey.

After Westminster Abby, then walk the short distance to the Churchill War Rooms. Get a reservation for mid-afternoon.

If you have extra time in between Westminster Abbey and the War Rooms, you can go take a walk thru St James' Park which is right across the street from the War Rooms.

To me Tower of London is more than a half a day. Be sure to take the free tour given by the Yeoman Warders. Get there early, head to the Jewel House first to see the Crown Jewels, then double back to the entrance gate where the Yeoman Warder tours begin.

It sounds like you have the Buckingham Palace/Windsor Castle tour set but Windsor Castle is very easy to do on your own. The train is easy and altho there is a change it is just a walk across the platform and everyone else is doing it as well, so you follow the herd.

I've done 2 London Walks in a day and it's a lot. It might work fine for you but I'd keep my options open for the afternoon.

Posted by
958 posts

I'm going to second what Pam said. We took the Westminster Abbey Tour with London Walks but wished we had done the verger tour instead. We were in there first thing, visited for a few hours, grabbed a sandwich and then walked over to the Churchill War Rooms for entrance. With pre-purchased tickets we still stood outside for 20 minutes or so, waiting on the crowd inside to lessen so we would be allowed to enter. Seems to me we went in about 2:30. By 4:30 or so I was done for the day - tired of standing and tired of looking. A quick stroll by St. James Park afterward was sort of refreshing. I believe this was the day we returned to our apt. and met up with Pam for wine and dinner and we were still good for that.

We went to the TOL on a day where we had nothing else planned and were there for much of the day. I would not want to have been rushed to get to something else.

London Walks really give you your money's worth and I myself would be hesitant to do two in a day unless the second one was a night time walk. Still, if I were you I'd plan on doing it and then play it by ear (or feet) to see whether you feel up to the second one. You can always do something else if you don't feel up to the second walk.

Have a marvelous time!

Posted by
11236 posts

Give yourself extra time getting to Liverpool.

A few years ago, my cousin, a Beatles fanatic, was visiting London with his family
and wanted to go to Liverpool for the day. He went alone since no one else in his family was interested. Only his train was delayed and he missed his Beatles tour.

I travel around the UK quite a bit by train. Most of the time everything is fine. But it is inevitable that when you need to be somewhere, there is a problem.

I will also put in a favorable vote for London Walks. I never had a bad tour. On one, I was the only person to show up. I told the guide he didn't have to do the tour but he insisted.

Posted by
207 posts

I loved the British Museum and it is so large, I went back twice. Now I have done more reading and want to go back again! And I so enjoyed the Churchill museum and we did have timed tickets that had to be printed. We went to a hotel for them to print it.

The best part of London are the people and neighborhoods. I was there during Xmas and New Years and we had things planned that were a must do, but the others we simply booked them on line or used the TI office.

Another adventure was seeing Hamilton and Victoria Station.

You can’t go wrong with what you decide!

Enjoy!

Posted by
9690 posts

"A quick stroll by St. James Park afterward was sort of refreshing. I believe this was the day we returned to our apt. and met up with Pam for wine and dinner and we were still good for that."

I can vouch that Nance and her traveling companions were good to go for wine and dinner!

I live in a rural area with lots of outdoors. To me just retreating to the parks for a little breather while in a big city is refreshing. There are lots of benches, you kind of shake off the dust of spending time inside and rest your senses looking at the green trees and blue sky!

Posted by
1822 posts

Thanks to you considerate people we've made some significant changes.

Only one group tour to Cliffs of Dover. We'll do the rest on our own. Other than maybe a walk by Buckingham Palace was nixed.

We're spending the night in Liverpool to allow a less hurried return. Our train arrives at Lime Street Station at 1021 with the FabFourTaxi waiting for us outside for an 1100 tour. They said we could push the time to 1130 if delayed.

Arrival day (0645) we plan on an 1100 walking tour after dropping off our luggage at 1000. Still not sure how to fill our time until 1500 or 1600 check in. We'd like to stay outside if possible. Maybe an hour on the HoHo bus or a Thames cruise.

Sorry I don't type well on the iPad.

Posted by
9690 posts

I hope you realize that you don't really have a good view of the White Cliffs of Dover from Dover. You can walk along the cliff top (if your tour takes you there) and look down and across to them but that's the only view. The Dover Castle is interesting, particularly the tunnels that were used to plan the retreat from Dunkirk and Canterbury is very interesting.