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London itinerary feedback

There will be a group of 4 of us in London from June 21-25. It is 2 teenage girls (high school graduation trip) and their moms. Our Europe trip starts on June 7 when we land in Copenhagen. We will be in Paris from June 17-21. Since it is the girls trip I am having them figure out what they want to do and see. I have more time so I am dealing with the logistics to try and put what they want to do into a cohesive plan. We are staying near the Chancery Lane station.

Thursday, June 21, arrive 1:30 PM at St. Pancras station (Eurostar from Paris). 4:15 reservation for London Dungeon and 8:15 reservation for London Eye, both of those are already booked. I figure we will find something for dinner between the 2 times.

Friday, June 22, half day tour to Stonehenge for my daughter and I (already booked). I know it will be a lot of time on a bus for a relatively short period of time at Stonehenge, but it is really high on my daughter's list of things to see. Should be back in London around 2:00 PM and will hook up with other 2 people. Hop-on hop-off bus tour from Victoria Station. Visit Portobello Market (just need to walk through, they want to see it but don't really want to spend much time there), St. Pauls Cathedral (just want to see outside because the facade is in Mary Poppins, don't have a burning desire to go inside), Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station (photo op with trolley and wall). Walk or bus from Kings Cross to British Museum. It is open until 8:30 this night.

Saturday, June 23 (daughter's 18th birthday so she planned most of the day), view Changing of the Guard, walk to Hyde Park and go on paddleboats on the lake, Natural History Museum (or back to British Museum), possible boat tour. 7:30 tickets to see Lion King. Need to figure out where to go to dinner before because I'm assuming we need to make reservations.

Sunday, June 24, Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

Monday, June 25, fly home, depart LHR at 12:20.

Is there anything I'm missing or need to be aware of.

Posted by
10530 posts

As you have let the girls do the plan, I won't offer my editorial They want to see what they want to see.

Pubs will be your friends for those dinners you need to fit into short timeframes. Some do take reservations and for the Saturday before The Lion King, you will want a res because everyone going to the show will be trying to dine out quickly. Pubs know this so let them know: 17:30 reservation, have to be out by 19:00.

Posted by
166 posts

This looks like a great trip and the days activities are well planned. What a wonderful graduation present, hope you have a great time. Just remember to pack light because of all the traveling that your doing, limiting yourselves to just carry-on's will make the trip a whole lot more fun.

Posted by
23130 posts

The main day for the Portobello Road market is Saturday. I don't know what it's like on Friday, but it may be a disappointment.

Every time the Changing of the Guard is mentioned here, the London folks say it's much ado about nothing. It came up as recently as yesterday, I believe. I think the issue is that in order to see anything at all, you have to get there very, very early. I'd drop it, based on conventional wisdom and hit Portobello Road early on Saturday instead.

When you get to the British Museum on Friday, stop at the information desk to ask what part of the museum will remain open late. It may be a relatively limited area, in which case you'll want to leave that section till last and make sure you see some of your top-priority exhibits earlier.

I haven't been to the Tower of London recently, but earlier posts here indicated that crowding and lines are major issues there, so it will be extremely helpful to arrive early, probably before opening time.

Posted by
7380 posts

A few thoughts.
1.) The body of Water in Hyde Park is called the Serpentine and is the delineation between Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park.,
2.) if hungry upon your arrival at St Pancras walk behind the station and enjoy a meal at Dishoom.
Then hop on the tube( Piccadilly line) at Kings Cross Station to the Chancery Lane Station. I’d also include the HP platform photo on this day. All within a 10 minute walk of one another but suspect platform 9 1/2 will be insanely crowded at the time of day.
3.) as far as dinner near the London Eye might I suggest some pub grub at either the Red Lion on Whitehall or Two Chairman in Dartmouth Street. Both near the iconic Parliment Square ( Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey) . Pubs are family friendly, you’ll even find dogs and cats. Don’t have to drink. Very different from American bars. The dining room for the red Lion is upstairs. Entrance off of Whitehall.
4.) try to time your visit to the exterior of St Paul’s for when the bells toll. Would also walk over to One New Exchange and ride the elevator to the top for the free rooftop view of St Paul’s. Maybe a meal at Wahacas?
5.) personally if I were a teenager again Brick Lane and a shoreditch graffiti tour would interest me more than Portobello Market. Far more “hip”

Great city. Been many times. Enjoy your visit

Posted by
1750 posts

After London Dungeon, you could walk along the South Bank, take the bridge over to look at Saint Pauls, have dinner at the Swan Bar (part of the Globe Theatre, we have seen children in there so I am sure they are welcome), then back to the London Eye. That is 3.4 miles of walking, however, ( It would be a lot less if you could talk them out of the tourist trap London Dungeon.)

On Saturday, after or instead of the Natural History Museum, you might enjoy the nearby Victoria and Albert instead of trekking across town back to the British Museum. It isn't on the girls' itinerary, but perhaps they aren't aware of it? Near the theatre district, we have enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes Pub. Fun Holmes exhibit on 2nd floor of the pub.

You could probably add a Thames boat ride on Sunday.

Posted by
2288 posts

London is awash with dining options of every cuisine, style and price. For an 18th birthday you can do better than a pub.

Wade through some of the ones linked below that are close to your theatre (Lyceum I think).

And yes you will have to reserve.

Posted by
11573 posts

You gain an hour going west from Paris to London so your stomachs will be ahead of your brain. I'd get to Gare du Nord with some time to spare and pick up some sandwiches for the trip. There are food places both before (downstairs) and after you pass thru security and the ticket barriers. Also, you'll ascend the escalators to get to the Eurostar embarcation point. After you are upstairs, you'll need to pick up a form to fill out for Immigration before you get to the line for the Immigration officer so make sure you've got a pen. I did not see signs directing passengers to do this so I missed it and had to go back (just a few steps) for it.

I'd get to the front of Buckingham Palace early and would head over to the Birdcage Walk area in front of the barracks where the Guards form up and have inspection. The band also plays and you can watch them march out of this parade ground area (tried to drop a pin but it wouldn't stick, lol. It's the big parking lot area where the type saying The Guards Museum starts), along the Spur Road along the left side of the park area and over to the front gates of Buckingham Palace. In my view you can see more pomp watching this than you can actually see at the change.

What wonderful memories for the 4 of you!

Posted by
8889 posts

If you do decide to have a pub meal (or other) meal before the Lion King on the 23rd June, don't forget to buy your daughter her first drink. As an 18-year-old it will be legal, and no British 18-year-old would consider their 18th birthday complete without their first legal drink.
Make sure she takes her passport as proof of age. If the other girl is under 18, a drink is legal at 16 if served with a meal.

Plenty of eateries in the area cater for cinema and theatre visitors, and advertise early eating "theatre menus".

Sunday 24th June: After the Tower, walk across Tower Bridge to the "South Bank", then turn right (upstream). You can walk along the river bank, past the Shakespeare Globe, with views across the river all the way. Also eateries on the way. If you get far enough, you end up at Westminster Bridge and can walk across the bridge to the Houses of Parliament.

Posted by
31 posts

Thank you everyone for your feedback! It was exactly the info I was looking for.

Regarding the changing of the guards, when my brother and sister in law were there they stumbled upon the backside of the changing of the guards. It might be what Pam referred to. I forget exactly what it's called and where it is, but basically it's not at the palace itself, but rather the group that leaves to replace the group at the palace. You get to see them all marching in formation, but miss the hoards of crowds. Obviously I will need to get some more specific details from them before we go.

British Museum - great suggestion to check what will be open late. I hadn't even thought about the fact the whole museum wouldn't have the same hours. Make sense, just hadn't thought about it.

Tower of London, we were planning to pre-purchase tickets and arrive slightly before opening.

Thank you everyone for all the food location suggestions. My daughter will be turning 18 while there, the other girl is already 18. I have heard 18 is the legal drinking age, but I have also seen references to 16. Does it depend on type of alcohol? I don't see either of them doing a lot of drinking, but the fact they could legally order a drink is a fun thought to them. In fact, for the Lion King we have box seats and one of the perks is a glass of champagne. My daughter hates carbonation but has said she will drink it just because she can.

Thank you for all the suggestions to visit Platform 9 3/4 when we arrive in town at the train station. I wondered about that and think it would make life easier if we just did it then.

If anyone else has suggestions and comments I am open to hearing them.


Posted by
1065 posts

"but I have also seen references to 16."

That would be when having a meal, with adults.

Posted by
118 posts

Pubs are family friendly, you’ll even find dogs and cats

Claudia, please tell me where I can go to see a cat in a pub. I really don't want to miss such a thing if I can squeeze it in :)