After prowling the England and Wales boards for a couple months, going thru the RS London book and researching a multitude of websites, I have locked in the following itinerary for wife and I Sept 24 to Oct 10 2015. We are mid 50's, decent shape, appreciate food culture (anything from fine dining to street food), architecture, connecting with locals (I,e pubs, pubs and maybe pubs), soaking up the the local scene and staying active. I'm looking for any glaring errors or omissions which you experienced travellers or residents can pick up, or suggestions to improve the flow of things, or if you think we need to spend more or less time at certain sights. This is our first visit to the UK, fifth to Europe. We will have our (mostly) trusty GPS for the time we will have the rental car, and will pick up maps as a backup.
Thanks in advance.
Sept 23: launch from Vancouver BC 8:40pm, Lufthansa sardine class.
Sept 24: arrive LHR 8:30am. Clear the airport by 11:30 or 12. Heathrow Express prepaid to Paddington. Pick up 7 day paper Travelcard at Paddington (...2for1 where possible, vouchers printed in advance). Tube or taxi to Hazlitts in Soho (booked). Sleep for a couple hours then walk Whitehall from Trafalgar Square to Westminster Abbey and back, to get our bearings. Find a pub.
Sept 25: Hoho Big Bus Tour (prepaid) for orientation first thing in the morning. Westminster Abbey 11am to 1:00om, Churchill War Rooms 1:00 -5:00pm and walk by "the other stuff"; #10 Downing, Houses of Parliament, Horse Guards Parade, Trafalgar Square. London Eye prior to 8:30pm last entry (hopefully it's dark and sky is clear).
Sept 26: Borough Market 8am. Royal Albert Hall Tour 11:30 - 12:30 (prepaid). Bike around Hyde Park, checkout Speakers Corner, Marble Arch, Kensignton Palace from the outside. Tour Buck House 2pm (Queens Gallery, Royal Mews, State Rooms): prepaid..
Sept 27: Bletchley Park by rail (or Stonehenge by car); to be determined before we leave home. Maybe Spitalfields Market if we are back in time.
Sept 28: Changing of the Guard. Then Thames Clipper to Tower Millenium Pier; walk to Leadenhall Market (+/- 2 to 4 pm). Thames Clipper to Canary Wharf; walk around, explore. Then DLR to Greenwich. Walk around, explore, have supper, return late by DLR and Central tube line to Hazlitts.
Sept 29: British Museum 9am - 2pm. National Gallery 2pm - 4 pm. National Portarit Gallery 4pm - closing (6pm).
Sept 30: Tower of London and Tower Bridge 9am - 2pm ( see Crown Jewels first thing). St Paul's Cathedral and Dome 2pm - closing.
Oct 1: pick up car at LHR (prepaid) and travel to B&B in Shipston-on-Stour (booked). Stop to visit Oxford on the way( Oxford Town Hall, Carfax Tower, Univ. of Oxford buildings, University Press, Covered Market) (my plan is to temporarily drop the car at the Europcar/Hertz lot at Oxford airport for the day and bus into Oxford; worked for us in Palermo last year).
Oct 2: Tour Cotswold villages (Moreton-in Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold,, Upper Slaughter, Bourton on the Water, Burford, Great Rissington). Mostly because of the cool names. Oh yeah, and the culture too.
Oct 3: Tintern Abbey 9am - 1pm. Brecon Food Festival and Farmers Market 1 - 5pm.
Oct 4: Blenheim Palace, (pass purchased) and Chill day (maybe laundry and a pub).
Oct 5: Travel to B&B in Betwys-y-Coed. (Booked). Check out the Town. Find a pub.
Oct 6: "Bridges and Swellies" (prepaid) Irish Sea Rib Ride in Menai Bridge, Anglesey 11am - 12 noon. Caernarfon Castle and Townsite 1:30pm - 7pm
Oct 7: Museum and Slate Mine in Llanberis, Rack railway up Snowdon Mountain. Check out Portmeirion.
Oct 8: Conwy Castle/Townsite. Denbigh Castle/Townsite.
Oct 9: Travel to Birmingham. Drop car at Hertz, drop luggage at North Terminal luggage point. Train or tram to city centre (great western arcade, picadilly arcade, Victoria Square, Brindleyplace, canals). Back to Novotel Airport (booked)
October 10: Birminghamm to YVR.