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London itinerary

Alright everyone! I think it's time to post my first schedule. This is just a rough itinerary of what I really want to see.

Day 1 (Thursday)-
Arrive at LGW early morning.
Leave luggage at hostel and take the hop on bus tour to see the main sights.

Day 2 -
Explore the South Kensington museums (NHM and V&A) and do a little shopping in the area.

Day 3 -
Visit Borough Market, Southwark Cathedral
Tate Modern and Tate Britain (Tate-To-Tate boat).

Day 4 -
Visit the Spitalfields Market.
Come back to Kensington to visit the Science Museum.
Take afternoon tea at the Lanesborough.

Day 5 -
Southbank Centre Book Market in the morning, Wallace Collection if time permits.
Visit the Westminster Abbey.

Day 6 -
Day trip to Cambridge.

Day 7 -
Take the Westminster Walk in the morning.
Visit the National Gallery.

Day 8 -
Visit Greenwich and Maritime Museum.
Free afternoon for shopping, relaxing, or any place missed.
Visit the National Portrait Museum (late night on Thursdays and Fridays).

Day 9 -
Take the Soho in the Morning walking tour.
See lunchtime concert at St. Martin in the Fields.
Visit the Courtauld Institute.
Covent Garden in late afternoon and evening.

(continued)

Posted by
82 posts

Day 10 -
Explore Notting Hill and Portobello Market in the morning.
Visit the British Museum in the afternoon.

Day 11 -
Explore Hampstead Heath and Camden Town.

Day 12 –
Day trip to Bath.

Day 13 -
Visit the British Library.
Visit the Hunterian Museum.
Take the Literary Bloomsbury and Old Museum Quarter Walk.

Day 14 -
Lazy morning at the 'spa LONDON'.
Take the Inns of Court walking tour.
Relax, shop and pack in late afternoon and evening.

Day 15 -
Bye bye London.

Ouff. That's it. Well almost. I also want to see a musical but I guess I'll just try to find tickets when in London.
I will have a travelcard for the whole time (7-day travelcard x 2).
I guess it's pretty easy to figure out my interests: art, books and shopping. It's really that easy.
So anything I might be missing? (But don't tell me the Tower of London. I can't even understand what's interesting to see there and I refuse to pay 30$ for admission, unless you manage to convince me.)

Posted by
83 posts

Hi Vanessa,
Wow I think you have a great schedule for yourself and it sounds like you'v left room to enjoy the experience. I did many of the items on your list in London last year. Many people on the list say the Ceremony of the Keys is awesome where they lock up the Tower at night but you have to get tickets ahead of time and although I did go to the Tower it is something that can be left out. I did a lot of meandering in London and just taking in the experience. When you are at Trafalgar SQ I would recommend taking a libation at Gordon's Wine Bar, the port is awesome (at Charing Cross go to the big blue sign and follow that street along the side of the building, it becomes Villers). The Courtauld Gallery is lovely. Wish I were going with you!! Have a great time. Pam

Posted by
977 posts

Hi Vanessa,

Having just recently been to the Camden markets, I suggest that you give it a miss. It was full of rubbish - mainly poorly made tacky t-shirts with even tackier slogans.

Posted by
9106 posts

Camden Markets is spread over a large area with many different venues. The areas closest to the Underground station are indeed nothing more than tacky t-shirts, and hemp related products. But if one ventures farther away, there is better shopping (and food) to be found.

Posted by
632 posts

Vanessa,

Having done some (but not all of the things you listed) I can say that your list is probably pretty complete...I'm with you on the Tower of London...it's not on my list either. I would eliminate the Portobello market (not really that good). The Tate Modern did nothing for me (and I love the Georges Pompidou, NY MOMA, and the SF MOMA). Another suggestion is that you add the Churchill Museum and the Cabinet War Rooms...I've gone twice and could see it again (its on King Charles street about 1 block west of Whitehall). While in the neighborhood, be sure to spend enough time in Westminster Abby...its worth several hours. Finally, go to the theater at least 3 or 4 times...you can get discount tickets at the Leicester Square ticket office (like Times Square in NY). You can eat dinner in one of several great Chinese restaurants in China Town near the theater district before the shows.

Posted by
632 posts

I just noticed that you didn't include St. Pauls....that's a must see!

Posted by
31 posts

Vanessa - I can't believe people aren't coming out in droves to convince you to visit the Tower of London. We're young-ish, love markets & the theater (I agree with the posting about getting cheap day-of tickets and hitting China town for dinner - GREAT experience - we saw Lion King and the Producers last year). However - I just can't imagine missing the Tower! The free beefeater's tour is extraordinary - and it was all just SO interesting, and actually fun. The Crown Jewels, the living quarters, ALL of it. We also loved attending the Ceremony of the Keys (which is again, free but takes advance planning which doesn't seem to be a problem for you!). I think you really will be missing out on a critical part of the London experience if you skip it...

Have a great trip!
Annie

Posted by
75 posts

I do not know what day of the week you are in the spitalfields area, but look up the Dennis Seavers house, a interesting house museum, alos the Sir John Soames Museum (near Lincoln fields). His gallery includes Turners and Hogarth.

How about the Globe tour and/or a play there?

Tom

Posted by
11 posts

Vanessa: I have done the walking tours before but not the JTR walk. I heard it isn't very good though.. Also, I have taken a number of day trips out of London over my last 6 trips. BATH would not be anywhere near the top. Again, everyone has different interests but my suggestion would be: Cambridge (way before Oxford) Windsor Castle, A trip to the Salisbury plain (cathedral,stone henge), Canterbury (Becket etc.) or even a trip to York if you leave early enough (2 hr train ride each way).

Posted by
24 posts

I also wanted to do the Jack the Ripper walk until I found out that the area where Jack did his Ripping was so heavily bombed during WW2 that there are virtually no sites connected with Jack the Ripper left from that time

Posted by
508 posts

Vanessa - You are going to have a fabulous time! I do agree with Bill - the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms and St. Paul's are not to be missed. Same goes for Westminster Abbey. Greenwich was interesting, but not at all worth the time it took to get over there and back... I did really enjoy the Tower of London, especially the Beefeater's tour and crown jewels. The markets are fun, but all seem to be the same after awhile. Every time I'm in London I just have to do some shopping on Oxford street. It's just packed with Londoners on Saturdays - wall to wall people but quite an experience. Some of the small places for tea are fun - I think some are listed in Rick's book. If you want an expensive one, try Harrod's or Fortnum and Mason. Actually, don't miss going to a lively pub. It's even a better experience when there is a football game.

Posted by
12172 posts

Day 12 is packed! The British Museum in itself could be a full day. If you do Rick's suggested highlights, it's still a full morning. To add a walking tour, the British Library, relax and pack to that is unrealistic.

You could do the Museum in the morning. Arrive first thing and be out by lunch. The British Library will take a few hours of tube travel and oohing and ahhing at the treasures. It's possible to also get the walk in at a hurried pace. Pack? Maybe after dinner. Relax? No way.

Posted by
12172 posts

Just realized there is a day 13 in there. As Emily Lattela used to say on Saturday Night Live, "Never Mind".

Posted by
82 posts

My mistake. It was a little confusing. I edited my post...

Posted by
780 posts

The jack the ripper walk will take you right to Spitalfields, you should remap things so you can get them in one go instead of going backwards and forwards!

Posted by
1717 posts

Hello Vanessa. 13 days in LONDON. Wow ! That is a great oportunity. London is an exciting city. Listening to all the British accents of the people talking there makes it worthwhile going to London, for me. Your first day in London, after being in an airplane all night: are you sure you want to do sightseeing that day ? I would go directly to a hotel, shower, and sleep for two hours. And, with your busy schedule there, I think most people would not have enough energy for attending a play in a theatre at night.
I think the city Bath is not worth the effort and time for a day trip from London. I recommend a day trip to Windsor castle. And, one day should be unscheduled, so you can rest that day. I think the sightseeing boat ride on the Thames River, from Westminster bridge to Greenwich is worthwhile, to get an overview of the city. The boat ride is more pleasant, less stressful, than a sightseeing bus ride in London. When you leave Greenwich, the return boat ride is quicker.

Posted by
8824 posts

Do not miss the Sir John C. Ritblatt room in the British Library. Pretty fine itinerary. You've done your homework BUT if you tire don't feel you must see everything you've listed. Some times the best travel moments aren't planned.
Theatre in London is always fun. Get the same day tix in the morning from the half price booth. Nothing better than ending your day by seeing a play. GREAT city. Have fun and don't forget to set aside some time just to stroll around Hyde
Park.

Posted by
2030 posts

I agree with Julie's post above, on things to include. Also I highly recommend the Harrod's food court, and Covent Garden -- a lively area for shopping, eating, people watching.

Posted by
2783 posts

Vanessa, your itinerary looks good the only thing I would do is to add Windsor if at all possible. You could do it in a half day if you wanted. I think that dropping off your luggage and going sightseeing is great. We always do that, we don't go to bed until our normal time. You really don't want to waste time sleeping when you can go out and see things. St. James Park it great, you get a wonderful view of Buckingham Palace as you cross the bridge in St. James Park. There is a great pub across the street from Hyde Park, The Swan they have great food. I hope you get to the theater, The Lion King is great but any theater in London is fun. Have a great trip.

Posted by
347 posts

My wife and I are visiting this June and thus I haven't been yet. I will say that all traveling depends on the traveler. If it was me, I'd definitely need some down time during two weeks - especially with the amount of stuff scheduled each day. But you know your stamina! You don't say whether you have been to London before or not, but given your itinerary, I'm guessing not. In that case, I find it odd that you so patently dismiss an icon such as the Tower. If you've already been and don't care to see it again, I can see that. But to just say, "I'm not interested" in something as big to a country's history as the Tower (not to mention the art and jewelry that is there) seems like a slap. But you know what you enjoy - and it sounds like your days are definitely full. Have fun!

Posted by
51 posts

A suggestion for the theatre is "Wicked". I saw it there in September and it was fantastic.

Posted by
2297 posts

I spent a week in London when my husband was at a conference there. So ALL my visiting was done by myself. As a single traveler you can see quite a bit during the time. Maybe more than if you have company.

Still I find you schedule very full. Keep in mind that you might find yourself jet-lagged and not in the mood to do a full day. On our first day we slept till noon - the first time this ever happend.

I struggled getting into Westminster Abbey as the first couple of times I went there it was closed: they do close it for special events and you need to check at the beginning of your trip when it will be open.

A lot of you schedule really reflects personal preference and it's difficult to comment on. I found the shopping not that interesting as it felt either waaaay too expensive for me or cheap touristy stuff. I loved the Tate Modern, the audio guide is very helpful. I'm a big fan of Joseph Beuys, he's well represented there. But dh wasn't impressed, he simply isn't into modern.

Posted by
2297 posts

contd.:

I love reading historical novels. I highly recommend Edward Rutherfurd's "London". Once you read it there is no way you'd want to skip the Tower!

We actually stayed in Greenwich and very much enjoyed our stay there. If you want a quieter day it does make sense to take a boat ride out there. The ride itself is relaxing, the walk up to the Royal conservatory is very pretty and a nice change from the hard walking streets of London.

Always try to see a musical or a concert at Royal Albert. Check out the schedule ahead of time while still at home. Then go to Leiceister Square and see what tickets are available. A word of caution: aside from the offical ticket booth (very large, next to the green square) there are many other ticket sellers. Some of them will rip you off! Happened to me when I thought I could save a bit more money. Ended up with the WORST tickets in the house. We were lucky the show wasn't sold out and were given better seats. Stick to the official booth!!!

Posted by
3428 posts

You might want to consider the Covent Garden Market area. It is wonderful- and different every day! I'd suggest it in place of Camden- because of the recent fire. I also agree about Windsor- it is a great 1/2 day trip- really good on theatre days. We loved We Will Rock You, by the way.

Posted by
82 posts

I updated the itinerary in my first post. Thanks for the comments and keep them coming!

Posted by
6 posts

The Borough Market is open only on Thursday-Saturday, so make sure you get there when it's actually open. Saturday morning is best and really hops with different food stalls. Make sure you get there early, as later hours will have you several people deep vying for that perfect slab of cheese or loaf of bread.