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Three Days in London - what should we see?

My husband and I will be in London for three days in November. What should we see? Neither of us have ever been there. We bought Rick's London book but want suggestions on what's best given our short time frame. Thanks! Amy

Posted by
1068 posts

Claudia makes a very good point. If your husband, like Toni's. isn't "into" museums, then I can rant and rave all day about London's AMAZING museums, and it won't help you at all (unless you plan to split up for part of the time you are there). So - please let us know general parameters, and then we can help! For example - my husband and I are going to be in London in November to go to a couple of Chelsea footbal matches. I asked on this board for fun football pubs near Stamford Bridge (their stadium) and got loads of really good suggestions - just what I needed! My suggestions, having no idea what you guys like, include: Stroll on Hampstead Heath and have lunch in a pub. The Tower of London. Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral. The Two Tates - the Tate Modern, and the Tate Britain. Walk down the Mall from Trafalgar Square through the Admiralty Arch, wander in a bit in St. James's Park, continue on and see the palaces (St. James's and Buckingham). This is a big whack of classic touristy stuff all in one go. Very concentrated! See a play - there are TONS. "The Playboy of the Western World" will still be running at the Old Vic while you are there, as an example. Harrod's Food Halls - have a fancy tea! Check out Edgeware Road - on the southern end, nearer to Marble Arch, there is terrific Middle Eastern food. But there is SO MUCH to do and see in London that you will need to do carefull editing based on YOUR likes and dislikes. Have fun!

Posted by
9099 posts

Hard question to answer as we don't know what your interests are;) but, with three days you can do a lot. I'm into WWII history so the Imperial War Museum, and Churchill War Rooms are two of my favorites museums. If you're into art, the obvious attractions are the National Gallery, and the two Tate museums. In addition be sure to checkout the Saachi Gallery and the Wallace Collection. Also as soon as you arrive in London be sure to pickup a copy of Timeout London to see whats happening that week; or head to their website: http://www.timeout.com/london/ For something fun and silly be sure to checkout Madame Taussauds Wax Museum. To avoids the lines be sure to book tickets in advance via their website. For walking tours browse through these listings: http://www.walks.com/ The theater is also a must every evening. Head here for show listings: http://www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk/

Posted by
3428 posts

For a real "I am in England" feel, don't miss the Tower of London. You also get a good, basic overview of British history with the Beefeater's tour there. We also love Windsor. You can spend from 1/2 a day to a full day there, and we often go there on the day we have theatre tickets. It is about a 20 min. train ride from Paddington station (you may have to change trains in Slough- but it is easy to do). The castle there is one of my favorites, and the town itself has some excellent shopping (from 'highstreet' as the British call upper end stores, to 'one offs'- unique shops, to market type stalls -in or near the old station building). The theatre in London is excellent and we love musicals. Hubby is not into art, so we haven't 'done' the art museums. We love walking around, especially people watching in Leciester Square, and wandering through markets like Covent Garden and Camden Locks. Even in Nov. we have enjoyed visiting Kew Gardens. It has several huge greenhouses, so you get to see lots of flowers/plants even in winter. And the shop there is wonderful. If you just want to shop, they let you go in free for about 20-30 min. We have gotten some really nice presents rather cheaply there.

Posted by
8660 posts

You said you've never been. This is YOUR trip. What do you want to see? Only the well known tourist sites? Museums? Theatre? Galleries? Parks? Farmer's Markets? Do you want to shop? Are you history buffs? Foodies? If you've read Rick's book you'll know a good amount of the tourist sites are within walking distance of one another. PLEASE let us know YOUR preferences. Then we can offer suggestions.

Posted by
5 posts

We recently enjoyed 9 days in London and really didn't see it all. (Blogged it here: http://pastorscott2.blogspot.com/search/label/London ). One of the challenges is that so much of the sightseeing is "leg intensive." Even if there's time to visit two biggies in one day, like Tower of London in the morning and Windsor Castle in the afternoon you may find that the spirit is willing but the body is weak. You'll want to check out Rick Steve's recommendations and then prioritize them. For history, I'd say British Museum, Tower of London, and Windsor Castle. I'd throw in some commuting via bus just to see the city and, depending on the weather, some time in Hyde Park. If you throw in a show and eating in some interesting places, I think you will have pretty much filled three days. At least you shouldn't have much trouble sleeping on the plane on the way home. Have fun and enjoy your trip.

Posted by
25 posts

Thanks everyone for the responses. We are interested in history and seeing the most well-known and high profile sites. We are not typically interested in seeing art museums, but if there's something extraordinary, we would love to know about it. However, we do like discovering/seeing the unique and lesser known sites also. Any recommendations for restaurants and pubs would be greatly appreciated. It's always nice to hear good reviews before you go somewhere. We also like going to plays and musicals, and we would really like to catch a show while we are there. Any suggestions for this? Thanks so much for your help! :-) Amy

Posted by
8660 posts

Thank you for providing an overall view of what you'd prefer to see in London. Very walkable city. Use Google maps satellite view, type in Big Ben London and you'll see what I mean. For your theatre I would suggest visiting the Half Price booth in Leicester Square. You can also go directly to the theatre box offices As far as unique and interesting things to see: the Sir John C Ritblatt room at the British Library, Camden Locke Market and Little Venice, take one of the London Walks (www.walks.com) visit Greenwich, the Royal Observatory and the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Institution of Great Britain and the Household Calavary Museum. Definitely see the Tower of London. As far as pubs, after visiting the Calavary Museum, stroll up House Guards Road toward the Institute of Contemporary Art onto Waterloo Place, past the large statue of the man on a horse, (Waterloo becomes Regent Street), one block past that statue turn left onto Charles II and follow it to St James Square, turn right and follow it as it curves to Duke of York street, right again one block to Ormond Yard and a left. Look down the alley to your right for the Red Lion pub. Perfect example of a traditional pub. Have a great time

Posted by
3752 posts

Many good suggestions here. The first day I'd go directly to the (1.)Tower of London as soon as it opens, to avoid the crowds. Walk from there to (2.)St. Paul's and walk all the way to the top of the stairs for a grand view out over the rooftops of London (better view than from the London eye IMO). Next stop head west to (3.)Westminster Abbey. Plan on staying awhile because it is an awesome place. I would do these the first day, because they are my "must see" places. Then you have 2 days left to see all the other stuff suggested here, take some walks and walking tours, and go to the theater. The second day I'd go directly to Windsor Castle and also walk around Windsor. Returning to London, I'd go to the British Museum for a couple of hours, then either on a walking tour or to a show in the evening. Also, check out this list Rick himself posted under the "Plan Your Trip" tab, click on "Great Britain", then "London". http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/destinations/britain/698lonsight.htm Have a great trip!

Posted by
1717 posts

Hello Amy, I was at London this past week (October 21 - 28). It was my second visit to London. My favorite places at London are : Windsor Castle (it is not really located in London. Ride in trains from Paddington station to Windsor and Eton Central station. Change trains at Slough.) And the Museum of London. And you asked for recomendations for restaurants. In the Kensington district, two restaurants that have good food are : Maggie Jones Restaurant (6 Old Court Place, east of Kensington Church Street, near High Street Kensington station of London Underground). Telephone to reserve a table. Telephone - 02079376462.
And Ramano's Italian Restaurant at 32 Church Street Kensington, near High Street Kensington. (Near High Street Kensington station of London Underground). Both of these restaurants are very small. Ramano's has tables on two floors, table cloths on small tables.