3 days in London

My husband and I will be in London for about 3 and a 1/2 days and I am trying to plan out our trip so we make the most of our time and see our top sites. Those being Westminster Abbey, The Tower of London, the British Museum and Kensington Palace. Of course we would also like to view Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and if we can, we would like to see the Churchill War room. We are staying in Hyde Park and arrive around 3pm on Saturday, please let me know if what I laid out makes sense or if you have any suggestions on how to plan the trip better, or things you think I am missing! Any help would be greatly appreciated as we leave in about a month! Sat: Arrive explore Hyde Park area then walk Millennium Bridge view St. Paul's cathedral Sunday: British mesuem in the morning afternoon do Rick's walk through the east end markets and Petticoat market Monday: Trafalgar square View Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Parliament Tour Westminster Abby Visit Churchill War room Tuesday Tower of London (crown jewels first then Beefethers tour)
Kinsington Palace and Gardens

Posted by Christina
New York, NY, 10025
365 posts

I am a royalty/palace nut, but I wouldn't prioritize Kensington Palace for such a short stay. It's just not as interesting inside as you'd think. The gardens are lovely, though. But if you feel you must see it, then by all means don't let me deter you! I think your schedule sounds very do-able overall.

Posted by Kevin
near Ringwood, Hampshire, UK
521 posts

Sat: Arrive explore Hyde Park area then walk Millennium Bridge view St. Paul's cathedral Hyde Park to the Millenium Bridge is almost a 3 mile walk. A very pleasant and scenic walk (Constitution Hill, Buckingham Palace, The Mall, Trafalgar Square, Hungerford foot bridge and then along the south bank) but I just thought it was worth mentioning the distance. Perhaps you meant you would take some kind of public transport for some of that.

Posted by Rob
Dunwoody, Georgia
235 posts

Your itinerary is very doable. My one suggestion is that you put Trafalgar Square last on Monday. It'll be open whenever you want to go see it. Maybe start with the palace and walk through St. James to see the rest. Have fun!

Posted by Anita
Long Beach, California, USA
575 posts

This is a great itenerary! Someone mentioned that the walk from Hyde Park to St. Pauls is quite long, which is true! Just take the tube to St. Pauls station and it lets you off just behind the church. There is a sign pointing you out the correct staircase. The bridge is just across the street from the cathedral. On Monday, my only thought is that Buckingham Palace is the "outlier" as far as location. Consider taking the tube to Green Park station which lets you off right near Buckingham Palace. After that you can walk through the park and just across the street back to the War Rooms. From there Trafalgar Square is just a few blocks away and from there you can walk 10 minutes down Whitehall to all the rest.
I agree with a previous poster that the interior of Kensington Palace is really not very interesting. Spend your time having a fabulous tea or lunch in the Orangery instead!

Posted by Christina
New York, NY, 10025
365 posts

Anita is right about the Orangery. If you want more to do in the Kensington area than the park and tea, the Victoria and Albert Museum is fascinating.

Posted by Stephanie
Alexandira
3 posts

Thanks everyone! For tea at the Orangry do we need a reservations? Also, how will I find out if the Tower of London or Westminster Abby will be closed? Those are my top two things I want to see, so I am a little nervous about waiting to see them until the end (in case of a special closer).

Posted by Christina
New York, NY, 10025
365 posts

The Orangery reservations depend when you will be there; I didn't need one but it was late November. With limited time you may want to make one. I think with the Abbey the main thing to be aware of is the times of services, though you can certainly attend one, but it's different than touring the place. I don't think the Tower has closed days, unless you are there at Christmas or something. It doesn't close one day a week or anything like that at least.

Posted by Anita
Long Beach, California, USA
575 posts

I wanted to go to the Orangery for my birthday when we were there this summer but couldn't go because they were all booked up! Probably depends on the season...it was the beginning of August when the whole city was simply crawling with people.
The service times for Westminster Abbey are posted on their website and special services/events are usually on a board at the church entrance.

Posted by VS
Palo Alto, CA, United States
556 posts

My wife and I were in London earlier this year, latest of multiple visits for both of us. I would be cautious on the amount of time allotted for the sights. You can spend the better part of a day at the Tower of London, and we did this year as well as on our 2000 visit. Churchill Museum and War Rooms, 2.5 hours; Westminster Abbey about the same. Maybe it's just me because I like to linger and really savor the experience -- but many of the London sights are worth a lot of time. They also cost a small pile of money in many cases..

Posted by VS
Palo Alto, CA, United States
556 posts

My wife and I were in London earlier this year, latest of multiple visits for both of us. I would be cautious on the amount of time allotted for the sights. You can spend the better part of a day at the Tower of London, and we did this year as well as on our 2000 visit. Churchill Museum and War Rooms, 2.5 hours; Westminster Abbey about the same. Maybe it's just me because I like to linger and really savor the experience -- but many of the London sights are worth a lot of time. They also cost a small pile of money in many cases..

Posted by Dana
Des Plaines, IL, USA
25 posts

I just returned from spending a few weeks in London, as my daughter has been living there for the past 3 years. Just a few suggestions. On Tuesday, I would switch, and go to Kensington Gardens in the morning and have tea or lunch at The Orangery. Also do skip the Palace, as it is not worth the time. I always go to the gardens and The Orangery on every trip, even in the winter. Actually I had lunch there by myself this trip! The Tower of London is in a nice area. You want to take some time there. There is a beautiful park right across the street. Tower Bridge is amazing and beautiful at night when it is all lit up. There is an area right across from the Tower of London called St Katherines Docks, which has some cute restaurants, pubs, cafes, and a very neat Starbucks. It is fun to see all the boats coming and going. So you can spend the afternoon into the evening here. Trafalger Square is another great area. There are two great museums, The National Gallery and The National Portrait Gallery, which are alot of fun to roam thru. There is not a fee to get in, so you can stroll thru and not have to see everything. St Martin in the Fields is a pleasant church, my favorite. Alot of days they have free lunchtime concerts, and at other times they have musicians practicing. You can do a brass rubbing in the basement, we have even gotton tickets to a night time concert in the crypt there. Another suggestion is the double decker bus tour, it is a great way to see the city and get your bearings! Also the area around St Pauls Cathedral is amazing. You have to see St Pauls at night when it is all lit up. The gardens around St Pauls are a nice place to sit and rest. It is an easy walk to get to Borough Market from there, that area also has some good restaraunts and pubs. Walking along the Thames is very pleasant. Enjoy!

Posted by Stephanie
Alexandira
3 posts

Thanks everyone this is all so helpful! Everyone seems to think it's not worth going into Kensington Palace, the reason I was interested in going Victoria revealed and fashion rules exhibits, are they not worth it? If not we will skip them as we don't want to waste our limited time. Also, if we switch things up and go to the Kensington Gardens in the morning have tea at the Oranagery and then head to the Tower of London in the afternoon as suggested, will there be long lines at the Tower? I am nervous since that is one of the top things on my list of things to see and Tuesday is our final day in London.