London

We are planning a trip to London for 5 days. There is a Chelsea home game while we are there, tickets are not available, any suggestion on how to get tickets, I need 4 and am not sure if ticket brokers exist or are legal. Besides that we would like to go to one show, is it advisable to book in advance from the States or try book at the last moment when we are there. I've read Rick Steve's suggestion in the 2013 Best of Europe, sounds like he suggests calling the box office directly or "Discount "tkts" booth. We are talking May or June and would be able to go a Monday or Tuesday.
A pretty broad based question, but other than that what must see things should we do or see while we are there?

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1339 posts

hi, asking us for "things we should do/see while youre there" is vague, personal and subjective. you can give us hints on what YOU and YOUR TRAVEL COMPANIONS like to do/see so that way we can give you a better list of things to do/see. If you like the shotgun approach, we can do that too. try googling "things to do and see in London" and see what come up and floats your boat. happy trails.

Posted by Russell
California
19 posts

I'm traveling with my wife and two daughters in there mid twenties. We'd like to possibly see a few Museums and Churches, but not overdo those. I have read Rick Steve's 2013 Best of Europe, so would like to do some or all of the following Tower of London Westminster Buckingham Palace Changing of the Guard St James Park London Eye
British Museum The above are easy, looking for some other tasty titbits, never done this before so maybe I'm asking an impossible question

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1339 posts

I'm traveling with my wife and two daughters in there mid twenties. We'd like to possibly see a few Museums and Churches, but not overdo those. I have read Rick Steve's 2013 Best of Europe, so would like to do some or all of the following Tower of London Westminster Buckingham Palace Changing of the Guard St James Park London Eye British Museum
The above are easy, looking for some other tasty titbits, never done this before so maybe I'm asking an impossible question i think you could do ALL of them in the amount of time you have and then some. Some suggestions tho and this is from my time there last March and Oct. > see the Tower Of London early in the AM and go directly to the Crown Jewels first. Thats where the longest line will be. Tickes for me in March was a short line. RS covers this. > London Eye - Buy your tickets online (i did). It locks you in on a day/time, but you WILL skip a LOOOOOOOONG ticket line. There wasnt anyone waiting to get on that had advance ticket! > British Musuem - This is a MUST SEE in my opinion. It is sooooooo cool in there and massive. instead of the "changing of the place guards" i went to the "Changing of the Horse guards" and the "royal mews". Also, went into St. Pauls 2x (forgot to climb the dolm). Also rode a horse in Hyde park. you may want to look at a map of london so you dont cross your paths alot. But if youre going to use the Tube, it will help but "mind the gap" and have lots of fun. happy trails.

Posted by shirley
Toronto, Canada
296 posts

Unless you are set on seeing a particular show, you should be ok with the discount ticket office check out www.tkts.co.uk This is the website for the discount ticket booth. Lots of helpful info on this site. I like the Victoria and Albert Museum. I hear that the scones and tea there are good too!

Posted by Leslie
Orange, USA
151 posts

Russell,
When you say "Buckingham Palace" do you mean just seeing the outside, or are you hoping to tour the State Rooms? As far as I can tell online (and from memory of visits past) those are only open from late July through early October, so would not be available in May or June. You could easily combine seeing the outside of the Palace during the Changing of the Guard, then walk through St. James Park on your way to either Westminster Abbey (I'm assuming that's what you mean by Westminster) or the London Eye or both. My husband and I did the latter on a Sunday in September, though we mainly "heard" the changing rather than getting there early enough to see it, which was fine with us since I'd seen it before and he mainly wanted to hear the brass bands. :-) You have to get there very early to actually get a spot at the fence or on the Victoria Memorial. Overall your plans sound doable in 5 days, though you should probably decide ahead of time what you would most like to see in the British Museum since there is so much there. Hopefully someone from the UK will be able to give you advice on the football tickets. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by Keith
United Kingdom
678 posts

Chelsea - Are tickets "not available" because they are sold out or because they are not on general release yet (that happens closer to each match, about a fortnight before)? Mind you, even if the latter, I think you would have to be lucky to find (m)any available when the general sale opens. A Thomas Cook package might be your only legitimate (but costly) route. Theatre - as described above, if you are reasonably open about what to see you should have no problem getting discounted tickets on the day. Clearly, that will be less likely with the really new/popular shows, though they might not be offered at a discount anyway.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6829 posts

For Chelsea tickets keep checking this resale site: http://www.viagogo.co.uk/chelseafc They're an authorized reseller for Chelsea, the official site links to them. As it closer to match day, season ticket holders who can't make the match will be selling off their tickets. Though it might be tough to get four seats together.

Posted by Keith
United Kingdom
678 posts

I did wonder about viagogo, but don't you have to be a club member already (and it is too late to buy memberhsip for this season)? I've never used it, but understood that was the way it avoided falling foul of the touting law. I'd be interested if I'm wrong, as I might use it myself.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6829 posts

Unless their has been a recent change Chelsea tickets via from Viagogo can be purchased by the general public. Only season ticket holders are allowed to their tickets via the site. A lot of clubs in the England have official arrangements with Viagogo, so its all legal. Arsenal on the other hand only allows registered members of the club to buy and sell via their own internal ticket exchange. ---edit--- looks like Chelsea have indeed restricted Viagogo tickets to members only. Never mind......

Posted by Suz
Denver, USA
223 posts

A few more suggestions: The Churchill War Rooms (as I recall, next to St. James Park). This is the actual underground bunker that Churchill and his government officials used during WWII. Abandoned at the end of the war and left just as it was (papers on the tables and all), it was opened as an exhibit to the public in 1984 and has since been expanded with a museum about Churchill. My first visit was before they added the Churchill museum, and I still prefer the actual war rooms themselves. By the nature of the space it is very intimate and because most of the stuff you're looking at is the real deal, it is very authentic. I learned a lot about the Blitz during my first visit. http://bit.ly/14J9i8E The "Treasures Room" at the British Library. Admission is free although before you enter you'll need to put any large bags you're carrying in lockers downstairs, which costs a pound or two. Amazing original texts, from the Magna Carta and Gutenberg Bible to original notes by the Beatles when composing their songs, and including maps, musical scores, and more. http://www.bl.uk/whatson/permgall/treasures/ Neither of those has to take a lot of time, unless you get fascinated and want to linger. Another idea, especially if the weather is fine, is to take the train down to Hampton Court Palace. I loved that place; it's huge inside and has large beautiful grounds to wander around in. You get away from the city, and it's very visitor friendly without being all gimmicked-up.

Posted by Kira
Seattle, WA, USA
954 posts

Hi Russell: Just to the tickets thing... yes, Viagogo sells Chelsea tickets to members only, but you can buy a membership at the same time as you book your tickets. That's how my husband did it the first time. Now we're both members. Fair warning - the website can be challenging to navigate as you make your purchase. I ended up on the phone, finally, and had to email back and forth a couple of times as well. It was worth it, though. There's really nothing like a Chelsea match at Stamford Bridge. Before the match have a pint and the fish 'n' chips at Brogan's Irish Pub at 1 Fulham Broadway - less than a 5 minute walk away, and a nice friendly place. Just be sure you aren't wearing a Man U jersey. :-)

Posted by Russell
California
19 posts

Thanks, all these tips are just what I was looking for, personal touches not easily found in a tour book btw wouldn't be seen dead in anything ManU :-)

Posted by Patty
Steilacoom, WA, USA
304 posts

Harrods Food Halls, Borough Market, Fortnum & Masons, a pub and maybe try a night when they're doing a pub quiz if you like trivia, Primark, if your daughters like to shop.

Posted by Marty
Rockville, MD, USA
70 posts

Are you counting your arrival day as one of the five? We didn't feel like doing much on arrival day - unable to get much sleep on the plane and of course the jet lag. Arrival, getting to your hotel, and settling in uses up the morning. In our family we nicknamed this "Zombie Day." If you're staying in town (we like the Lime Tree Hotel) you can walk past Buckingham Palace, through St. James Park, and over to Whitehall/Horse Guards and perhaps the Churchill War Rooms. That was enough for us for the first day. Watch the weather reports and look for a sunny or partly cloudy day for the London Eye. We bought tickets online for when it opened (10 am in March) but found them up and running maybe fifteen minutes ahead of that with no lines for pre-purchased. It's fun to take one of the Thames shuttle boats after your day at the Tower of London. They run pretty frequently and you get a different perspective on the water. Only down side is that I've heard they no longer have commentary on the westbound trips (e.g. Tower pier to Westminster pier). If you have an Oyster card show it for a discount. Keep an eye on your girls. I found my 25 and 27 year old boys were surprisingly fragile while traveling. Have a great trip!