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Itinerary seal of approval?

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Itinerary seal of approval?

We're leaving this coming Saturday, arriving Sunday AM. Us= me, hubby, 3 teenaged (18, 18, 16) daughters one of whom is a low-stamina kind of girl.

Does this itinerary make sense at all?


-Hopefully settle into the hotel for a brief nap & shower. Goal for the day is to get a feel for London and get everyone excited.

-Do some walking around Hyde Park, Speakers Corner (Hubby really likes this), Mayfair, brief nip into Selfridges or Marks & Spencer (all close to our hotel).

-On the advice of TALF, instead of doing the £22 per person bus tour which is more than $140 for 5 of us, maybe take a Thames river tour to get in some scenery in a low-key way.

-Dinner in Shephard's Market area (near our hotel).


-Buckingham Palace, Queens Galleries, changing of the guard. Walk down to Trafalgar Square.

-Afternoon in National Gallery (the art historian in me speaking here), maybe have tea there.

-Piccadilly & Regent St. shopping if we're still awake.

-Covent Garden or Chinatown for dinner. Probably not the theatre this night because we'll still be jet-lagged and probably won't be able to stay awake.


-Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben.

-Cross Westminster Bridge, walk around London Eye, etc. (Not doing London Eye though; some reviewers say it's too slow & boring, and believe me that if my kids have a low boredom threshhold.) Explore the area.

-Cross Waterloo Bridge and finish up at Courtauld (again, can't miss the art).


-Legal London Tour: the guy who gives an overview and then sets you loose at Old Bailey. (Another favorite place for hubby.)

-Return to hotel to get cameras & phones.

-Harrods for lunch and sightseeing for my husband, and shopping for the 4 girls in the family.

-Probably a good theatre night, right?


-Day trip to Windsor.


-Tower of London bright & early. Tower Bridge.

-After lunch, tour the City of London. Would love to do a walking tour for this but the London Walks tour starts at St. Paul's and ends at the Tower, and I need to go the other way. Are there other options?

-Cross Millenium Bridge and finish at Tate Modern. (Did I mention I was an art history major?)


-British Museum bright & early (husband loves it). Is the acoustiguide worth it? It's about £20 for the family. Or the Museum's own walking tour, which would run us £40.

-Lunch at the museum or nearby.

-Afternoon to explore SoHo or back to National Gallery if I haven't had enough art, or shopping if our daughters aren't satisfied.


Leave, feeling tired & hopefully happy too.

I haven't figured out which nights to go to the theatre (nor finding time to get the tickets either).

Here's the problem: I've left very little time for general wandering or exploring things in depth. We're definitely "in depth" kind of tourists, at least hubby & I are.

Is this do-able or insane?

I'd love any or all advice! Thanks in advance & sorry this is so long!

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West London
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1. Re: Itinerary seal of approval?

Looks a good, well though-out schedule but there’s a lot of walking.

Speakers’ Corner is on Sunday mornings, not afternoons, so your husband may be unlucky on the day that you arrive but may be OK for the Sunday you leave.

There’s an admission charge for the Courthaul except on Monday mornings when it’s free, so you may wish to rearrange things to go on Monday.

Definitely time for you to start looking at


where you’ll also see suggestions for things that your kids can do for you on Mothering Sunday

and also look at


West London
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2. Re: Itinerary seal of approval?

And if it was me, I'd go for refreshments at the Wallace Collection, which is lovely.

Hayti, Missouri
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3. Re: Itinerary seal of approval?

I would recommend not taking the nap on Sunday. You need to try to acclimate yourself to the new time zone as soon as possible. The best thing you can do is get out and about and on your feet the day you land in London. So on Sunday, I'd suggest skipping the nap, maybe taking some showers (I always feel so grimy coming off of long plane trips myself) and then hit the ground running.

You can always go to bed early that night, but it's usually recommended that you wait until around 9 or 10 p.m. (although I'm sure that depends on when you're used to going to bed in your own time zone).

The walking on the first day is actually perfect. Get a feel for the city and that will also help you get outside, get some sun (hopefully) so your body will start adjusting to local time. So important!

And I can guarantee that if you don't take that nap and get an early night on Sunday, you won't feel jet lagged on Monday (because you should sleep very well the previous night and wake up feeling refreshed). I saw a show on my trip a few months ago my 2nd day into the trip and had no problems staying awake.

I'd also not recommend the Thames River Tour as if you have a chance to sit down for a long period of time, you'll probably start feeling groggy. That's a great idea for a final day, though - when your feet are hurting from so much walking!

I think the rest of your itinerary seems relatively okay, though - I think you'd have time to wander around.

Of course, on my last trip, I had an entire itinerary set, and we ended up scrapping some things just so we could wander around the city more, so as long as you're open to that, I say go for it. There's no way to see it all in just a week so enjoy what you do get to see!

Stanley, Falkland...
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4. Re: Itinerary seal of approval?

I'm with your daughter...

I got bored after a few lines.

Enjoy Mayfair and Shepherds Market and just wander round.


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5. Re: Itinerary seal of approval?

One of our favorite places, and one that isn't mentioned much is the Treasure's Room in the British Library. Unbelievable collection of documents.


Detroit, Michigan
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6. Re: Itinerary seal of approval?

Looks pretty do-able for the most part. Lots of walkig, but that's all part of London. Comfortable shoes area a must.

On your arrival day, I'd limit napping to maybe a short power-nap - no longer than an hour. Then push on the rest of the day till bedtime. We try to fit in one of the London Walks on the first day. Keeps us up and walking and they are always interesting.

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7. Re: Itinerary seal of approval?

I, too, would eliminate the nap upon arrival. Having raised four boys through teen years, getting them up and moving is not an easy chore, especially when tired and/or jet lagged, and a short nap might just make this more difficult.

If you're flying overnight, your hotel may not be ready for check-in upon arrival. Suggest a quick clean-up before landing just in case - facial wipes, toothpaste/brush, etc. in purse or carry-on facilitate this well - a pre-landing baggie for each one is a great idea I lifted from another poster, as is a "facilities" use in case immigration and/or baggage claim cause delays. Hotel will probably store luggage for you until check-in is available, so hit the fresh air (walking) asap after arrival. And encourage the young ones (emphatically!) to sleep on flight over-the-pond if it's a red-eye.

Have a great trip!!


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8. Re: Itinerary seal of approval?

Don't be too rigid about your schedule and be prepared to make changes according to the weather. If you see it's a sunny day, grab the chance to do some outdoor things, and if its raining or overcast bring forward the more indoor things.

Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: Itinerary seal of approval?

I think the itinerary sounds well thought out: it is indeed a lot of walking, but that's the best way to see London! Just a few comments:

1. Last time I was at Speaker's Corner (April 2008) there was still a lot of activity at 4 p.m. on the Sunday afternoon. I don't think it's limited to the morning.

2. If you can squeeze it in, an hour or so in the Treasures Room at the British Library (free admission) is a great suggestion. There are all sorts of documents, etc. on display, and very wide ranging: the Magna Carta, very early illuminated manuscripts, Tudor documents, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Handel, the Beatles (lyrics written on the back of a greeting card!), etc. I've found that most people I've taken there have adored it. Your teens might like it because of the wide range of docs: it seems to capture the imagination.

3. Re the tour/audioguide at the British Museum: I personally find the British Museum just a little dull (I know, I'm in the minority!), although I adore the stunning Great Court. Because it can be a little dull (unless your kids are into Greek or Egyptian history), I think it would be well worth your money to do either the audioguide or the tour. Either one will focus your visit, and give some interesting information. Which you choose might be decided by your teens: if they are the independent types, the audioguides might be a good choice b/c they can go at their own pace.

4. Since you are an art history major, I urge you to consider visiting Tate Britain (perhaps instead of your possible return to the National Gallery on the Saturday). I think Tate Britain is fantastic: I personally prefer it to Tate Modern (probably b/c I don't really enjoy modern art). With your art interests, there would be a lot you'd enjoy.

5. I don't know when you'd squeeze it in, but as noted by another poster, the Wallace Collection is great. Wonderful art (and a lot of it: I've never been anywhere with more paintings per square inch of wall space!), and a gorgeous glass-roofed courtyard restaurant.

Have a great great trip!

Chicago, Illinois
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10. Re: Itinerary seal of approval?

Oh, and one more thing: your teens might prefer shopping on Oxford Street to shopping at Harrod's. There are more "young" stores on Oxford Street. (I personally hate the crowds, but your kids might not!)