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Itinerary Feedback: London

Have booked a 4 night layover in London on the return from Prague. Will be arriving at LHR at 2PM on a Thur in Oct and flying out at 12:30 the following Monday. Based on your experiences, does the following itinerary sound reasonable (both from a time & proximity consideration)? Would appreciate any feedback!

THURSDAY: Evensong @ Westminster Abbey, London Eye,
FRIDAY: Churchill Museum & Cabinet War Rooms, London Walks Tour: “Royal London & Westminster Abbey”, National Gallery
SATURDAY:Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Tate Modern
SUNDAY: London Zoo, British Library, Harrods (I know, I know, but my DH really wants to go)

I would like to see the British Museum, but I don't see a way to fit it in and have an adequate amount of time there.

Posted by
22161 posts

Ya, kind of. It is blink and run type but some like it. By Oct the sun will be setting fairly early. For quick hits I am not a big fan of museums and art galleries in part because you don't have the time to enjoy and appreciate the displays. Sort of -- Ya, I was there !! You are missing the Albert and Victoria Museum and I would put it ahead of the Library, Globe, and the Eye. Not sure your Thursday is real doable. I don't see how you arrive at 2 pm and be ready to tour much before 5PM, We have been in London for nearly a total of 30 days and still haven't seen some of the things on your list.

Posted by
28 posts

Thanks for your feedback, Frank! Oh gosh - I absolutely wasn't going for a blink & run itinerary. Thursday really doesn't have any touring. We'll do Evensong at 5 and then head across the river to do the Eye afterwards. I was thinking we'd have 2-3 hours in each of the museums & galleries on the other days - is it your opinion that that's not enough time to see the highlights? The library is a must for us, so we may have to look at doing the A&V on the next trip

Posted by
1697 posts

Consider that if your flight is late (possible), LHR is crowded (always), you have to wait for checked bags, and traffic bad (possible), you might not actually make a 5 p.m. evensong unless you go straight there without passing go. I don't think they have baggage check at Westminster.

If you're determined to see what you've listed, I recommend Rick's books for the "highlights" suggestions. Get to Tower of London before the gates open on Saturday so you get with one of the first tours - otherwise you'll not have time to fit in the rest of your day. Not sure about the zoo, so unless you've got kids, I'd skip it and spread out your other activities. Also double check opening times for everything, especially on Sunday agenda to make sure all those sites are open (many have limited hours, but I don't think Harrods is open on Sunday).

Posted by
28 posts

CL - Thank you for the feedback. The plan is to go to Evensong if all of the travel stars are aligned :), but if we're not able to make it it is not a big deal. Harrod's website says they're open from 12-6 on Sundays. I have Rick's 2008 London guidebook and he seems to have a lot more crammed into a day than we're planning so hopefully it will work out. We're not planning on doing the full Globe tour, but just stopping by on the way to the Tate Modern.

Posted by
208 posts

Check the websites to the places you're interested in. The British Museum is open late one night of the week and I believe the British Library is as well. However, not all of the galleries are available so if you have your heart set on something (in my case it was the Lewis Chess Set) that particular gallery may not be open late.

What I do when I am pressed for time (as you might be) is get the information of everthing I want to see (opening, closing times, tube info, cost) and type it up in alphabetical order on cardstock, laminate it with a laminate sheet (available at office stores) and attach it to my map (I use Streetwise - they're cardstock and waterproof.) I keep a Sharpie marker in my camera bag to circle where things are on my map to see it more clearly and to tick off my list.
I realize its very time consuming to do this in advance, but the time it saves while on vacation is awesome!
Enjoy!

Posted by
55 posts

It sounds like you can do it. The British Museum is fairly close to the Library and I would see it and skip the Zoo and maybe do Harrods on Thursday and skip evensong this time.

Posted by
6823 posts

A favorite city. Been 7 times in the last 10 years. Some insight if I may: 1.) Pace yourselves. Walkable city with good public transport. 2.) Save the Zoo and the Globe for another visit. 3.) If you miss the evesong at Westminster no worries.
Ride the Eye for the wonderful POV of the Thames, Parliment, Big Ben, etc., then walk back across the bridge and turn right. Have your first pint and taste of pub grub at the Red Lion and then stroll on up to Trafalger Square. 4.) MUST see the Sir John C. Ritblatt Gallery in the British Library!! 5.) On your last day, visit Camden Locks (provided they are open after the fire) and if you can't go there then take the tube up to Hampstead. Then head off to the Heath. The perfect route is through the alleyway across from the Starbucks. You'll experience the charm of the "village" homes and beauty of the Heath. A totally different POV of London. Have a wonderful trip!