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Prospective London Itinerary

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FL, USA
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Prospective London Itinerary

Have drawn up an itinerary and am wondering if anyone who has either done/attended any of the things on the list or is familiar with them would care to comment and offer suggestions/advice. Some of the things are prospective, others confirmed (as in passes/tickets already purchased).

1st Day - Arrive LHR @ around 7:30PM. Transfer to hotel in Belgravia. Take it easy that night, settle in, sleep.

2nd Day - Harry Potter-themed Black Taxi Tour running from about 9AM-Noon. Get dropped off at the Natural History Museum and spend a couple to few hours there. Some free time, then the Lord of the Rings stage show at 7:30PM (can you tell we're nerds? haha). Natural History Museum I'd love to see as I have fond memories of it as a child, but I can be a little flexible on that, especially as our black taxi can drop us off most anywhere after the Harry Potter tour.

3rd Day - Magic of London Tour (Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, Globe Theatre, Buckingham Palace, Changing of the Guard, ending at Harrod's). Figured I'd get this guided day tour in early, so that we could revisit favorite sites or places we didn't quite see enough of later on and use it to give us a good overview, as well as lay of the land. Then, in the evening, either the Ceremony of the Keys or a Jack the Ripper tour (depending on which date our Ceremony... tickets are for... if we get them!)

4th Day - Shopping (any suggestions of great areas to shop in would be very welcome! From the trendy to the quaint, new to old. Must-visit shopping places you'd suggest), and a fairly open itinerary to check out whatever. Maybe check out Houses of Parliament and Big Ben for a quick photoop? The Wicked stage show in the evening.

5th Day - Day trip by chunnel train to Paris. Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, and such. Board train back to London around 9PM for arrival close to midnight.

6th Day - Visit the places we either missed on the 3rd day or really want to see again or more in depth. Again depending on what date our Ceremony of the Keys tickets come in for, we may do it this evening. If not, the Jack the Ripper tour.

7th Day - Free in the morning but our flight out leaves at 4PM... figuring we have to leave for the airport no later than 1PM I suspect we won't do much apart from sleep in, pack, and leisurely make our way to the airport this day.

I could, and am partly tempted to, tack on an extra day if need be.

But if anyone has suggestions on some must-visit/must-see places that could fit on the 4th and 6th days that'd be great! Also, if you have feedback on what places are a "Set aside a few hours, at least" kind of place and what places are a "Take some pictures, move along" kind of place, that'd be great. For instance if we did go check out Big Ben, would it primarily be a "There it is! ... ... ok now what?" sort of moment? I do hope we get to see Changing the Guard on the 3rd day, because the provisional dates for the Changing the Guard leave that as our only real option while there.

BTW, tickets to the Lord of the Rings, Wicked, and Magic of London (Day 3) tour are all bought so those events are pretty much set.

Thanks!!

Athens
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1. Re: Prospective London Itinerary

As a shopaholic I feel obliged to answer your question regarding shopping.

IMO Harrods and Oxford street from Marble Arch to Oxford Circus are a must! After that it would be Bond street, Regent street and Harvey Nichols. I also like Kensington High street but since you have just one day for shopping, you won't have the time to go there in addition to all of the above!

Since you'll be catching some shows, if you have the time, pay a visit to Fortnum and Mason on Picadilly if you are into tea, bisquits, sweets, chocolate etc.

If you add this extra day if it is a Saturday or Sunday you should definitely go to Camden Market!

Also it would be nice if you have the time to catch a flight on the London Eye, day or night, as long as the sky is clear!

Have a great one!

FL, USA
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2. Re: Prospective London Itinerary

Thanks for the info! The London Eye keeps popping up on lists of things to do but I keep looking past it. Is it really that fun/fascinating?

And we'll definitely be going to Harrod's. It's a short walk from the hotel so I'd imagine we'll make it there a few times, at least.

Thanks for the suggestions!

Athens
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3. Re: Prospective London Itinerary

Harvey Nichols is close to Harrods, so it will be easy to go there too. Don't miss Oxford street. Shops for every taste and not too expensive! Are you into food? A new food hall opened in the basement of John Lewis (Oxford street, between Bond str and Oxford circus) and I hear it's amazing!

As far as the Eye. I skipped it many times, but I regretted it the minute I got up there! IMO it's a must-see! It's something so different and fun! If you go, make sure you buy this little book that tells you where is what and what is what because from up there everything seems different!

Bowie, Maryland
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4. Re: Prospective London Itinerary

I think your Paris list is a bit ambitious.

I have done Eiffel Tower- - - - takes longer than you think, what with

waiting in lines. Then we just drove by Arche de Triumph, and

did Notre Dame + tower (gargoles) . Saint Chappell is near there,

depending on the line to get in. Sacre Cour would be nice for sunset, but if you have a 9pm Eurostar, you wouldn't have time.

(unless you have a sunset that is very early, what with winter.

But then you wouldn't have time to do much more than ride by

NotreDame.

If it were me, I would do the Eiffel Tower, then take a Seine Cruise

which would give you lovely views of Notre Dame, then see if there is any time left. For Eurostar you have to allow time for security checks etc.

FL, USA
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5. Re: Prospective London Itinerary

TH13 - We'll definitely be checking out Harvey Nichols as well! I think it works out fairly well that our hotel is pretty close to both Harrod's and HN's as shopping will be our main "walk around" activity (as opposed to taxis/tube).

As for food... truth be told I've been thinking of it mainly as sustenance while there more than anything else hehe. So haven't planned much around it. Even the show tickets that all offered a "+dinner" option, I opted out on the dinner. But I do like the sound of Fortnum and Mason as that seems like it'd be food+experience.

I've been to London a few times while a child and teen and so it was family (or a school tour) that set out the itinerary, so I'm fairly green on that. But a big part of the trip is taking my partner there, who has never been outside of the US beyond a few miles in to Mexico and so even the simplest thing - like tea and biscuits - sounds like something he'd really appreciate!

Now you've put the London Eye on my list, also! :)

jmet - definitely that Paris list is pretty ambitious. Champs Elysees and the Eiffel Tower will be key but beyond that I'm still trying to figure out what else to do. I suppose I won't be able to get away from actually going up the tower, as opposed to just seeing it while there. Probably something I'd never be forgiven for if that was the plan hehe. Would be great to fit Notre Dame in as well. That Seine cruise sounds pretty good. Would you suggest a more organized tour once there or trying to wing it with map in hand?

Athens
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6. Re: Prospective London Itinerary

Even though you are not planning ahead you're gonna have to eat eventually! LOL! Here are some thoughts:

Why not take "tea and biscuits" a bit further and make it a Traditional Afternoon Tea? It doesn't have to be anywhere fancy, even at Harrods you will love it!

I don't like the ticket+dinner option either! Who knows what I would like to eat that day? I would suggest that after the show you have dinner at China Town or anywhere in Picadilly Circus.

If you are not into restaurants and like a quiet dinner in your hotel room, don't spend in room service! Harrods closes at 9 and from 8 till 9 everything that's left in the food halls is half price. Even if you go earlier, wrap everything in a bag (or put it in the minibar) and your dinner will be waiting for you when you get back!

Make sure you eat in a pub once. You have to order and pay at the bar and then the food will be served at your table.

Also, if you go to Oxford street, when you get hungry go to the Selfridge's Food Hall and eat at Square Pie! Many pies to choose from with delicious mash, peas and gravy! mmmmm

If you take the extra day and go to Camden, you can have a nice Indian or Chinese lunch from the stalls on the street! Everything you need after walking around, especially if it's cold!

AND don't forget fish and chips! It's a delicious must-do!!!

Well, I think I covered much of the food thing!

Lexington, Kentucky
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7. Re: Prospective London Itinerary

Just a suggestion re Changing of the Guard -- even arriving one hour before it was to start, we were unable to see anything once they passed through the gates of Buckingham Palace - much too crowded. That's a terrible place to see COTG IMHO. TALFers suggest viewing COTG at Horse Guards Parade, and I would definitely take this advice. Unless you tack on the extra day and visit Windsor Castle - I've also read on this board that COTG is easier viewed there.

Also, since you enjoy shopping, if you are in London on a Saturday morning, I would think Portobello Market would be a must do. Plan to arrive by 8 a.m., leave by 10 a.m. as it gets very crowded. I missed this on my recent trip and must go back again to do it!

The Paris day looks ambitious - and that's coming from someone who just did it last month. I lucked out with a short line at Eiffel Tower, and only went to second level. Including time to purchase post cards at the gift shop and mail them (send yourself one - it's the only place in the world to get the ET postmark!), it only took me about 45 minutes. But that is unusual. You can go up at the Arc de Triomph for good views of Paris, and you will also have good views from Sacre Couer. As you are facing Sacre Couer, walk to the left side of the bascillica to find the artists' neighborhood of Montmarte - good place for a crepe at a sidewalk cafe, souvenir shopping (nice Paris themed prints), and watch the artists painting in the square.

Did you intend to miss the Louvre? We just went in quickly and saw the Mona Lisa, and you pass Winged Victory getting to Mona Lisa. Including a gift shop stop, this only took about half an hour. Near the Louvre you also can walk past Place de la Concorde (where the guillotine used to be) and through Jardin du Tuilleries.

We ate lunch on the Champs Elysees at a sidewalk cafe (Charles V), but ran out of time before we got to Notre Dame.

There is a bus route (#42) from Gare du Nord station where the eurostar arrives that takes you diagonally across Paris to ET. It only takes about 30 minutes, and you pass lots of sights you won't have time to go back to see later - like the Opera Garnier.

Just a few thoughts - hope something helps.

Happy travels!

tbb

UK
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8. Re: Prospective London Itinerary

You wont fit all your Paris stuff in so do it in order of your preference.

London Eye is only an hour including some queing- worth doing on a sunny day, less impressive otherwise...you could probably fit it in on your last morning if you wake up and its good weather.

West London
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9. Re: Prospective London Itinerary

Make time for some shopping in Paris - including the famous flea market (our friends on the Paris forums will provide lots of helpful suggestions for that). If you could arrange one night's stay in Paris you would save some money because Paris hotels are cheaper than equivalent London ones, and the saved money could be spent on buying a few more things.

3 hours on a black-taxi Harry Potter tour sounds potentially disappointing because I don't think there's much that's photogenic in London concerning Harry Potter (I could be wrong). Better might be getting up early as possible and making a quick half-day in Oxford and do the Harry Potter tour there (Oxford tourist office can give you the info - which is the Oxford College that they film Hogwarts in?). Otherwise, maybe going to the Star Wars Exhibition on the South Bank? (Haven't been to it myself though, as it's fairly expensive but Star Wars fans seem to think it's worth it.)

It would be helpful which days of the week these days refer to as different things happen on different days, e.g. streetmarkets.

FL, USA
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10. Re: Prospective London Itinerary

TH13 you're a wealth of information. Thank you!