My wife and I are taking a short vacation to London in the middle of February. It will be our first trip outside the United States. I have done a lot of research using Rick Steves' guidebooks and other sources, and I have planned a tentative itinerary for each day. But I have a few questions for any of you travelers who have already experienced sightseeing in London:
We plan to visit the Tower of London, St. Paul's Cathedral, and Westminster Abbey (among other sights). These three sites all charge admission (unless we are attending a worship service). Should we expect to wait in line to buy tickets for these sites, if we don't buy tickets in advance? I would plan for long ticket lines in summer, but I'm not sure what to expect in February. We are most likely to visit these sites on a Friday or on a Monday, though we might visit the Tower of London on a Sunday. (I'm trying to avoid buying tickets in advance unless necessary, so that we can retain some flexibility in our schedule. Also, I have booked several things in advance already, and I prefer not to have more tickets or receipts to keep track of.)
If we have time to visit either Apsley House or the Wallace Collection but not both, which one would you recommend, and why?
Are we crazy if we skip the British Museum? I originally had it on our itinerary, because it seems to be widely regarded as a "must see" sight. But the more we read about the British Museum, the more we realized that it just didn't sound exciting to us, because we simply aren't very interested in the cultures of ancient Greece, ancient Egypt, and so on. We are going to England because we are both very interested in British culture, and we want to focus more on quintessentially English sights in London, if that makes sense. Do you think we should give the British Museum a chance anyway?
Is it realistic to visit both St. Paul's Cathedral and the Tower of London in a single day, given that they both close around 4:30 PM, if I remember correctly? We plan to do St. Paul's in the morning (shortly after it opens), and the Tower of London after that (probably with an early lunch in between). Would this give us enough time to enjoy both sights without feeling rushed?
If I use Google Maps to get transit directions, are its estimated travel times pretty accurate for travel by tube or by bus? (Note: I don't plan to rely on Google Maps exclusively. I also have a tube map and other resources.)
Thanks in advance for any replies. And please don't feel like you have to answer all five of my questions. I'll be happy and thankful if you have a good answer to just one of them!