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3 Days In London

I'm trying to figure out a good itinerary for my fiancee and I. We will be landing in london by flight at 15:10 on a sunday and leaving by the eurostar on wednesday at 16:02.

Some of the main places that we would like to see is: St. Pauls Cathedral, Tower of London, Thames House, London Eye, Big Ben, Westminister Abbey, Buckingham Palace, (changing of the guard), Trafalgar Square, British Museum

Also we are staying right next to the Hyde Park, just north of it. Do we have time to go somewhere on sunday when we arrive? We are flying in at the Luton Airport which I think is a little over an hour bus ride to where the hotel is. Any suggestions would help, I know we're not there for long at all but would just like to see as much as we can while we're there. Thanks!

Posted by
780 posts

There are tons of threads already on this subject but I can give you a few tips.

Alot of places are closed or closed early on a Sunday when youll arrive so use that day to just walk around and get acclimated to the time zone.

Map out the areas you want to visit. i.e. north, south, east, west. For instance, you dont want to go to the London Eye then to the Tower of London then to British Museum then back to Big Ben and up to Trafalgar.

London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey are all walking distance from each other. Trafalgar square is about a 10-15 minute walk from Big Ben.

Changing of he guard is overrated. You will have to get there at least at 9:30 am to get a spot to stand to see the guards change and you may be there until 1 pm, standing, just standing. Seriously it is not that exciting unless you are a Royal Family "fan".

Know that the Tower of London can easily almost take an entire day, as can the British museum.

Posted by
638 posts

Jason, also in Rick's London books he tells which Tube (metro) stop to get off at. I think he has a copy of the Tube system in the book or you can google it, and that will help with planning. You may have to backtrack for some things, but the London Tube system is soooooo easy, even I have only gotten mis-oriented once... You can probably hit Trafalgar Square on Sunday, it may not be that busy by the time you get there, it will depend on the weather too. You might consider doing the LondonEye when you get there too, depending on weather, how light it is. I agree about the changing of the guard at B-ham--kinda boring. I can't remember the place but look at London stuff, I think it's something like the Queen's horses, and they do a changing of the guard too, which while smaller, was easier to see, and you're closer to the action. The Tower of London tour with the Beefeaters takes an hour, then there are all the buildings to go in, including seeing Crown Jewels. You can probably do that in 4 hours if you move fast, some stuff I skipped (armor etc). Westminster Abbey has a audio tour that's good but takes at least an hour, but if you just want to walk in on your own you could spend less time, but it's a fabulous place if you like history. Big Ben is right there and takes 10 seconds to look at, another 1-2 minutes to take pics :) Brit Museum can take 1 hour or days; go to their web site and get an idea of what you want to see. I'm going again on June 15th, PM me if you want/need any further info.

Posted by
236 posts

Jason, Just returned from London. You'll have sunshine until late the day you arrive, so you should be able to wander through Hyde Park, perhaps eat at the original Hard Rock Cafe nearby. Rick has a couple of free podcasts that would guide you through the Westminster area and the city of London - I recommend both. (There are others for Brit Museum & Library and St Paul's) Stay awake and moving on day one until at least 9pm and plan ahead the areas you want to see. We found benefit to the hop on/hop off bus tour on the first full day as a way to orient us. We saw the Changing of the Guard by going to the Horse Guard and following the guard/band down the Mall to Buck. Palace. Quite fun - Rick describes it in detail in his books. We didn't actually stay at the Palace for the portion most tourist see - it's behind the gates.
We used the podcast for St Paul's including climbing aaalllll the way to the top >500 steps for the wonderful view. Having done that, we no longer felt the need to shell out the money/spend the time on the London Eye.
I would also recommend you at least give consideration to the War Cabinet Room/Churchill Museum (next to St James Park) My 23 year old daughter and I were very fascinated by it -very well done.
You'll be able to do an amazing amount if you plan ahead very carefully. Please verify hours at the attractions before you leave US...we showed up at Westminster Abbey only to find that it was closed until noon for a wreath laying ceremony on the only day we had left to see it. No biggie, but served as a warning to me for the future trips to London. And there will be more! We found tube system to be great. Enjoy!

Posted by
236 posts

P S We followed advice and went straight to the Crown Jewels at Tower of London. Walked right in at 9:30 a.m. and stayed as long as we liked with no crowd. 30 minutes later, the line was quite long. We then doubled back to the entrance and enjoyed the Yeoman Warder's (Beefeaters) guided tour. Wandered a little after that with the audio guide (rented only one - had earphone splitter we had carried with us) and felt we had seen all we wanted of Tower of London

Posted by
3419 posts

Jason, consider something like this:
Sunday- check into hotel then wander over to see Big Ben/Westminster/Pall Mall and Buckingham and St. James Park. Find a good pub for a Sunday roast dinner. Then London Eye for sunset After dinner wander around Trafalgar Square for people watching.

Monday- Tower of London (3 hours or so) then lunch then St. Paul's. Possibly hit Covent Garden Market area for supper. Possibly theatre this evening.
Tuesday- British Museum, Thames House (??), London Eye if didn't do that Sunday, and general Picadilly Circus/Trafalgar/Covent Garden wandering. Nice supper in China Town or other.

Wednesday morning- possibly National Portriat Gallery or other museum, maybe War Rooms or similar.
Plan on being at Eruostar by 2:15 (14:15).

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks for all the good advice everyone!

Posted by
22 posts

Hyde Park is a great place to walk after a long flight. I like the site: Londontown.com, it covers just about everything going on. Enjoy your, holiday

Posted by
180 posts

I wouldn't recommend the London Eye - the ticket process is a disaster. Seriously a mess - they sell tickets with specific times, the times don't mean anything.

First don't buy tickets ahead of time - the line to pick up prepaid tickets is longer then buying tickets at that time.

Then even if you have a specific time, doesn't matter, you have to stand in line with everyone else - when I was there it was a 45 minute wait.

When I complained I had a specific time, they just kept telling me it was open until 9pm and suggested coming back. When I asked him what is the point of a time, they couldn't answer.

I really liked the Cabinet War Rooms and the Museum of London too.