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Vetting of itinerary

Hi Folks,

Was wondering if my itinerary is up to mark for a first timer to London. We are a group of 6:
- my senior citizen mum
- husband and me (couple1 newly married)
- Sis + husband + 10yr old kid (couple 2)
- staying in Camden
- travelling 10th - 13th June
- not big museum ppl
- couple 2 will come back to London for a day after 2 weeks to take their son to the Harry Potter tour so it is not included in this leg
- planning to buy the Oyster card
- was keen on doing Bath but no time

Day 1
First group (couple 1 + mum) London Friday Morning 10th June at 11am. Couple 2 arrives 2pm

Airport to Hotel : Use Blackberry Cars

Head to the British Museum (#1 thing to do in London) so there is no time restriction. Also open till late on Friday!

7:30- 8: The London Eye - buy the fast pass! Try to time your “flight” around sunset for maximum beauty and to see the city light up as night falls.

Walk across the Westminister bridge to Big Ben for photos

End the day at Covent Garden for dinner to celebrate 1st day of trip.
Try a British pub!

Day 2: 11th June
Breakfast at hotel.

9:00 - 11:00 Trooping the Color - celebrate Queen's b'day! (Since we are there might as well have a glance. Nothing hard core. If too crowded or not interesting continue the day)

Since we will be tired standing for 2 odd hrs, we will then take the original HoHo bus overview tour for 1.5 hrs. Take the Yellow line

Get down at the Borough Market - London’s most famous food market. Stroll and Eat lunch there. Saturday will be crowded but it’s authentic London! Great cheeses to take back to the hotel (Sunday closed, market winds down by 4-5pm)

Head to the Tower of London spend 2 hrs there. Must See, Beefeater tour, crown jewels!. Open till 5:30pm
Do the free Beefeater tour - last tour is 3:30.

Post this check out the Tower Bridge (London Bridge) from outside. Click pics. Come back by HoHo.

Evening: Go to Harrods- departmental store and have dinner at the famous Food Hall (figure out what to eat). British pub?

Day 3
-Take the free Thames river cruise
- HoHo to Westminster Abbey. Spend 2 hrs there
- Afternoon Tea somewhere nice
- open to suggestions
- maybe do a London walk?

Day 4
- have breakfast somewhere nice
- leave by 12:30 Eurostar to Paris

Appreciate your time and Would love to hear your thoughts. Seriously, feel free to rip this apart.

Thank you so much!

Posted by
8024 posts

Not too bad but consider the following suggestions.

  1. Although the British Museum is number 1 must see after a long flight you won't be happy being inside with hordes of people. My suggestion to first timers is ALWAYS stay outside if weather permits and walk off the inevitable jet lag. Once you are unpacked and refreshed hop on the tube and take it to Westminster Station. I like exiting at exit 1as when you walk out you'll see the boat docks for the river cruises and across the Thames the London Eye. To your right will be Westminster Bridge and if turn right and look up, you'll smile. Climb the stairs and begin your London adventure properly, in Parliament Square. Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey. Can senior citizen Mum walk 3 or 4 long blocks? If yes then head up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square. Photo ops then either dinner in the crypt cafe of St Martins of the Field or continue walking into Covent Garden and dine there. If not a walker then dine at the Red Line Pub a half block from Parliament Square ( dining room is upstairs). After the respite walk over the Westminster Bridge and take your sunset ride on the Eye. I'm thinking everyone will be ready for bed by now. Tube back to Camden. I'm also thinking as you are near the Horse Guards you might check out where the Trouping of the Guard will take place the next day ( on the parade grounds) past the Churchill War rooms and across from St. james park and decide where a good vantage point might be to observe the ceremony the next morning.

Day 2. Nobody does pomp and circumstance better than the British and at age 90 Queen Elizabeth remains a respected monarch so the Trouping of the Color will be a BIG deal. People. Crowds will be large. If you do desire to see this you'll need to go earlier than 9am. Great way to mingle though and it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Discuss amongst yourselves if you are willing to stand for hours etc. then plan your day accordingly. I'd not do Bourough Market or the Town of London this day UNLESS you drop the trouping of the Colour and are first in Line to see the Tower of London. And I mean first in line and when doors ( gates) open head straight to theCrown Jewels. 2 hours at the Tower, short walk up to glass covered Leadenhall Market, lunch there or merely search for the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron from Harry Potter fame and then tube under the Thames to Bourough Market. Lunch there. Wander a bit, maybe down to the Thames and walk along the river to see The Shakespeare Globe, walk across the Millenium Bridge and up to St Pauls. Tube back to Camden, rest, then off to Harrods. I'm a big fan of pub grub so close to Harrods down a side road is the Tea Clipper. Lastly on one of my many visits London while dining at a cafe near Harrods my friend had her wallet taken from her purse. Tiny upstairs dining area. I think its a Pauls now. Just saying be cautious as the local police said this area is notorious for pick pockets.

  1. Day 3 seems fine but maybe this morning you start at the British Museum. Looking for formal or less formal afternoon tea? Less formal, Beas of Bloomsbury. More formal and more money, The Orangery or Fortum and Masons. Loads of London Walks to choose from but maybe there's a theatre performance that might interest everyone in your party. Check the Leicester Square 1/2 price day of ticket offerings online and if you see something u like get to the ticket booth and get your tickets. People will ridicule me for suggesting it but the venerable 39 Steps is actually a fun London Theatre experience and dining before or after at Bill's is lovely.

Day 4. Ta ta.

Posted by
7175 posts

I'm always fascinated to see how enamoured Americans are with the British Crown. It makes you wonder what 1776 was all about.
By the way Claudia, the Queen ceased to be HRH when she became Her Majesty.

Posted by
178 posts

You mentioned your senior citizen mother. Hopefully,she has the energy to do all this.

My comments are that you are doing way too much. There's no way you will be able to do all you have planned on the first day.The jet lag will take over before you know it. Good advice to stay outdoors.You haven't build in the traffic and crowd factor into anything you've planned. The tourist site are packed,always. As for the crown jewels, as I recall, they are viewed from a moving walkway and really not what they are cracked up to be.

You need to allow lots of time to get onto the Eurostar. There is airportlike security and long lines. My best tip is to have some Euros with you when you leave England. Should any of your party need to use the bathroom at the train station in Paris,you need to pay to use it. Luckily,someone was kind enough to give me the change.

Posted by
10915 posts

Are you arriving from North America? If so, take the British Museum off of Day 1. Instead, take a guided walk so you are outdoors. (London Walks)

Day 4, be sure to arrive at St. Pancras by 11:30. Other than that, have a nice pub breakfast.

Tower of London can easily take 3+ hours so be prepared! There is a lot to see.

Posted by
1976 posts

I enjoyed the Crown Jewels, perhaps in part because they're so over the top. But be prepared for a long line to see them. We were there in October and the wait time in line to see them was 1 hour. There's so much history and so much to see at the Tower - don't rush; enjoy being there and give yourself plenty of time.

Posted by
6113 posts

It's a rushed schedule and don't underestimate how long it takes to get between places.

Day 1. Sunset is c 9.20, so your trip to the Eye is too early for lighting up time. It's good to do outdoor things to overcome jetlag, but this is a full on day that you have planned. Parliament is out of the way between the Eye and Covent Garden. Covent Garden will be heaving with office workers celebrating the start of the weekend and trying to get drunk. Note that many pubs don't allow children in and many in Covent Garden don't serve food at night, but there are lots of restaurants here.

Day 2. Particularly this year and if the weather is dry, many people will be queuing from very early on if not the night before for front row positions for the Trooping the Colour. The 10 year old may struggle to see much. The event starts at 10 and climaxes with the fly past at 1 pm. Some roads around Buckingham Palace will be closed - I don't know if this will impact on the HOHO. You are right that Borough Market will be busy, as it has become a victim of its own success, but it has a great selection of food. The Tower of London takes more than 2 hours. Many go at opening time to avoid the queues to enter. London Bridge isn't worth photographing. As an alternative to Horrids food hall, why not consider fish and chips? The Golden Hind on Marylebone Lane is one of the best options and there are many good pubs in this area.

Day 3. Unless it has changed recently, Westminster Abbey is only open for church services, as this is a Sunday. A walk is a great idea. Many places will offer a traditional Sunday lunch, which you may prefer to afternoon tea. Hawkesmoor is a great option. The river boat to Greenwich is a great way to spend the day and the Observatory would appeal to the 10 year old. Note that shops have restricted opening on Sundays - 6 hours only.

Day 4. You should be at St Pancras an hour before departure.

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks everyone! I really do appreciate you guys taking out the time to make sure someone's trip goes smoothly. Good karma right there :)

Taking in view all the suggestions, I have revised my itinerary.

Day 1
Stay outdoors for jet lag. Three visiting from India reach by 2pm/ The other 3 reach by 4pm.
In that 2-3 hours do some grocery shopping and stroll the Camden market while waiting for the other party. Grab some lunch. Rest and freshen up.

Still Wondering what to do in the 2-3 hrs before the London eye. Would like to do an overall London tour that starts in the evening to get an overview. possible HoHo but too expensive for a 2hr thing. Maybe a river cruise (to combine tour + Thames ride) -- need suggestions (?)
- Covent garden for early dinner (?)

  • London Eye (definite be here by 8pm. Pass on fast track)
  • Walk across the Westminister bridge to Big Ben for photos (definite)

Day 2
- Tower of London first thing
- Borough market for lunch
- Tower Bridge (from outside)
- Harrods for dinner
- London pub hopping (old Hampstead village pub walk) any reviews/ suggestions?

Day 3
- British Museum (2hrs)
- afternoon tea and scones!

Where to fit in Westminster abbey and Thames river cruise? No chance I can fit in Bath in this trip right? :)

Day 4
- Nice family breakfast
- Aim to reach St Pancras by 11am

Any must see attractions that I'm missing?

Posted by
7175 posts

London's HoHo buses are quite slow, having to deal with the traffic - walk short distances, or take the Tube longer distances. Keep it simple. Keep the evenings free for 'on the spot' decisions.

Day 1 - 10 June (sunset 9.16pm)
- Tube (Northern Line) from Camden Town to Leicester Sq
- Walk ... Piccadilly Circus > Trafalgar Sq > Whitehall > Houses of Parliament (Big Ben) > Westminster Br
- London Eye

Day 2 - 11 June
- Tower of London
- Tower Bridge (photo stop)
- Borough market for lunch
- Thames river cruise

Day 3 - 12 June
- Westminster Abbey
- Covent Garden for lunch
- British Museum