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Please help with planning itinerary

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Singapore
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Please help with planning itinerary

Hi!

I'm in a great fix here and would really appreciate some advice. Will be in london from june 17-18 (about 1.5 days) and there are so many places I want to visit and see but not enough time. I would love to hear some opinions about how best I can maximise my time in london.

I would probably reach london some time before noon on a friday, and will be leaving for the airport in the evening (4+pm) on saturday.

The places I have decided to go to are the london eye and the tower of london.

The places I want to visit (as in enter the place and not just look from the outside) but I'm not sure if I have time or if they are worth it are:

- Westminster abbey

- Westminster cathedral (how different is the cathedral from the abbey?)

- St Paul's Cathedral

- Hampton Court Palace

- Buckingham Palace

- British Museum

- Natural History Museum

- Science Museum

- Windsor Castle

Places I want to see:

- Tower Bridge

- Trafalgar Square

- Piccadilly Circus and West End theatres

- Houses of Parliament & Big Ben

- Harrods

- Hyde Park

- Kensington Gardens

- Covent Garden

- King's Cross Station; Platform 9 3/4 (which platform is it, really?)

- Greenwich (but that's too far from central London right?)

I should also add that I'm not a particularly religious person nor a big fan of art (which is why I'm giving places like Tate Modern a miss). It is very expensive to visit many palaces and cathedrals. Hence, I'm wondering, out of Buckingham, Hampton Court, Kensington and Windsor, which is most worth my time and money to visit? Same for Westminster vs St Paul's.

I don't drink but I know that pubbing is part of the London culture. Hence, I'm wondering if I can/should just pop into a pub to take a look or is that too stupid?

What I would really like to know here is which places I ought to visit. Are there any that I should go to but I've not listed? In addition, it will also help me greatly if I can get some advice as to which places I should go to on Friday and which on Saturday, as well as the order which I should visit them (considering their closing times and proximity to each other).

How long would one recommend me to stay at each venue?

1 trouble I have with planning the itinerary is that I have no idea how long the Tube ride takes (I'm thinking of getting 2 1-day Travelcards). I come from a tiny country (Singapore), where the train ride between stations is usually 5 minutes, never exceeding 10minutes; and the train ride between the furthest ends of the country will at most take 1.5-2hours.

How long does it take (on average) between 2 successive Tube stations? What about from 1 end of Zone 1 to the other end, i.e. from Tower Hill to South Kensington? Is the wait for the train ride long? What about the journey between 2 different lines? I think a Zone 1-2 Travelcard will suffice, am I right? Unless I decide to go to Hampton Court Palace.

Various attractions mentioned concession for students, with a valid student pass. I am wondering if anyone knows what a "valid student pass" entail. I am currently an undergraduate in Singapore. My friend has been to London before and managed to get a student concession at the Tower of London using her bus pass (a photo card which states that she is a tertiary student). I'm not sure if this will work again, or should I apply for the international student card (which will cost more money)?

Will the London Pass be worth my money if I can't get a student concession?

Really hope to hear some opinions soon. Thanks! =)

Redmond, Washington
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1. Re: Please help with planning itinerary

that's really all too much. In an ideal world, one would say visit 2-3 attractions a day, and all you have is 1 day.

- See if it makes sense to buy that Fast track London eye tkt on the internet

- Take a hop-on hop-off tour of London. Look at the internet and study the route carefully, look at the attractions and see which one you like most, and which one is practical keeping in mind where you stay, the time you have and which is near to LEye or TOL (as those 2, you are definitely going to).

somewhere out there
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2. Re: Please help with planning itinerary

So you basically have 24 hours in London. The majority of what you have selected will eat up lots of your time.

I am going to suggest you take a bus tour, this will give you a good overview of the city with a guide and you also get a trip on the river and they have walks too that you can do. The ticket is valid for 24 hours so what you don't get to do the first day you can do the second.

For the travel pass, I would suggest two 1 day zone 1-6 passes since you will have to go to and from the airport both days.

With the short amount of time you will have the London pass will not be worth your while, for exmple it takes 3-4 hours at the Tower of London alone.

Hampton ct will take you at least 1 hour to get there and it's at least half a day to visit.

To get an idea of how long it takes to get around use the journey planner at the tfl site. Remember that things can go wrong with the tube and that there is always wait time and walking time.

www.tfl.gov.uk

http://www.bigbus.co.uk/

London
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3. Re: Please help with planning itinerary

You can forget about Windsor and Hampton Court. You won't have time to get out to either. Just stick to the City of London and Westminster attractions and leave the other stuff for a future trip.

To answer your question, Tube rides take 2-3 minutes between each station.

Do try to walk through one of our parks, eg, St James's Park or Regents Park. A trip on the river would be fun too, say between Tower Pier and Westminster Pier. Keep your fingers crossed for the weather!

S.F.
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4. Re: Please help with planning itinerary

I don't mean to be rude, so please don't take offense. Westminster Abbey, worth it?! To me it's the most awe inspiring, fascinating, interesting place in London, if not the world! Go! Pub

Londinium born and...
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5. Re: Please help with planning itinerary

Most pubs will happily serve you non alcoholic drinks and coffee, which is what I mostly drink in pubs myself. Some pubs actually make very good coffee and cheaper then some cafes.

Don't be embarressed to just walk in any pub and have a look but bear in mind that all pubs do not look the same inside or have the same atmosphere so there is no such thing as a typical pub.

Washington DC...
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6. Re: Please help with planning itinerary

Rentaquote has great suggestions for your limited stay in London. The parks are definitely worth a walk through. Look at the London Walks website to get some ideas. The guide will take you places you wouldn't find on your own, and you'll still get to see some famous sites. They cost 5.50 and last about 2 hours. www.walks.com

Don't forget to sit outside for a meal and watch all the people go by! This is one of the most fun things to do in the city.

Singapore
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7. Re: Please help with planning itinerary

Thanks for the suggestions so far.

Is the Globe Theatre worth visiting?

Ok, so I'll rule out Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace. Are there any castles worth visiting in central London? Kensington, Buckingham or St James's?

What about the cathedrals? Which is better, Westminster (abbey or cathedral?) or St Paul's?

Same for the parks. Any park that I shouldn't miss when I'm in London? It's between Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park and St James's Park.

How long do visitors spend at the Tower of London, on average? I'm trying to decide how many places I can see in a day.

This is probably a silly question, but what's the difference between the Tube and DLR? I can't figure it out from looking at the Transport for London webpage.

Thanks again.

Sunny Singapore
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8. Re: Please help with planning itinerary

Hi Krystalis,

I'm also a fellow Singaporean planning a trip to London in June, I'll be there June 8th to 14th (a week). I have my trip almost fully planned out now, mostly by seeking opinions from more experienced travellers from this forum. I'll be glad to help you out.

For you 1.5 days (mind I ask, are you on transit to somewhere?), I'll suggest the following:

1. Do the London Eye (with live commentary - costs 13.50Pounds if you book via their website).

2. On the day you arrive, join a full-day tour of Central London with a local travel agency (I'm using Premium Tours. U can consider Evan Evans as well.)

A Sample Itinerary of a Central London Tour Includes:

Guided tour of Westminster Abbey

River Thames Cruise

Guided tour of Tower of London

London Pub for lunch with coffee

See Changing of the Guard

See the Crown Jewels

View St. Paul's Cathedral

View Buckingham Palace

In this way, you can save yourself the hassel of finding transport around and can devote your time to sightseeing! Given the limited time you have, it's worth spending the money to join an organised tour. There's even a 10% discount now if you book the tour together with London Eye. Check out this URL: evanevans.co.uk/output/…page_41.html

If you join a full day tour on the day you arrive, your 2nd day is free up to explore niche areas like covent garden, hyde park or trafalgar square.

Do take my suggestions into consideration and hope you'll get this sorted out soon. Feel free to ask if you have more queries. =)

Singapore
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9. Re: Please help with planning itinerary

Thanks bb-blues.

Well actually, I'm on a package tour (Chan Brothers). London is my last stop before returning home. The tour agent will already be organising a city tour around Westminster, Buckingham (hopefully we will arrive in time for the changing of guards), Parliament Houses, Tower of London etc. The city tour does not bring us into these places; we're just seeing them from the outside.

But I plan to hop off at Tower of London (hopefully it's the last stop in the city tour), and go in to visit the place. I'm free to spend the rest of the last 2 days in whatever way I want, which is why I'm trying to maximise the little time I have in London. I did consider extending my stay, but due to budget considerations (I'm a poor undergraduate ^_^), I had decided against it.

The London Eye ticket already comes with a 10% discount if you order it online. The one that comes with live commentary only occurs at certain times of the day, isn't it? If I decide to visit the Tower of London on Friday afternoon, I will probably be unable to go on the London Eye trip that comes with live commentary.

So do you still think that joining a local tour agency is advisable in my case? I still haven't figured out which cathedral, palace and park I should visit. Hmm.

Watford
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10. Re: Please help with planning itinerary

Hi Krystalis,

I would think that the tour your operator has organised may well stop at a couple of the more popular sights such as St Pauls or for a photo stop. Assuming they are doing this your first morning you will then have at least some free time to explore on your own and you won't need to book another tour or go on the hop on/hop off tour.

The London Eye Discovery flights with a guide run every day on the half hour from 11.30am until 4.30pm so you can visit The Tower of London on Friday afternoon and take a "flight" on the Eye on Saturday morning.

As others have said please don't try to pack too much in. You will get a better feel for the city by wandering and just sitting and watching. Depending on where you are staying you could book the Eye for 11.30 and stroll down via Trafalgar Square, St James Park (my favourite park) and Westminster. Afterwards you could walk along the river to The Globe then cross the river to St Pauls via The Milennium footbridge.

If you find you have time to enetr an attraction, fine. If not, it will still be there when you next come and visit us!

Oh, The DLR is The Docklands Light Railway, a modern driverless transit system that links the city with the rebuilt docklands area to the east. You would only use it to get to Greenwich or if you were staying in one of the modern hotels that have sprung up there in recent years.

The rules surrounding student cards seem vague judging from various websites. I would show your card and see what happens.

And definately don't bother with The London Pass - you won't have enough time to get any value out of it.

Hope that helps and have a great couple of days.

Adam C