Thanks to all the contributors and experts on the London forum who provided the information to help us plan our trip. Everything was great (except for our Exclusive Airport transfers which I have already vented on in another thread so will not repeat).
We stayed in Bloomsbury at the Morgan Hotel (see our review). It was a great place and central to everything. We pretty much walked everywhere and on the few occassions we need to go further a field, we used the buses that were right beside the hotel. Great way to see the city.
We ate at a variety of pubs as we walked along and found the food generally to be very good. We also ate in China town one night: exceptional!! The Tas, a Turkish restaurant right beside our hotel, had excellent and relatively inexpensive food. We ate supper there a couple of times. We tend not to over emphasize food when we travel, so can't provide names of all the places we ate at, but we never really had a bad meal.
There is a hot dog vendor outside the museum who fries onions along with his dogs. The one night we got back from a day tour we weren't really hungry, but the smell of the food cooking in the outdoors was too much to resist, That was the best hot dog we have had in a long time, eating outside in the cool autumn air.
In eight days, we managed to visit the Tower, the British Library (some absolutely amazing illuminated manuscripts) and the British Museum, the Banqueting House, the Jewel Tower, and the Churchill Museum and War Rooms.
To satisfy our interest in churches and their architecture and history, we visited Westminster Abbey and St Paul's Cathedral , All Hallows by the Tower, St Bartholomew the Great, St Magnus the Martyr, St Martin in the Fields, and St Clement Danes Church. We fell in love with St Bartholomew and how it came to be; also enjoyed a lovely glass of wine in the cloister.
We would choose St Paul's any day over Westminster, but that is just our opinion.
We also strolled around Covent Garden and St James Park and saw the Changing of the Horseguard .
We were in Hyde Park for Horseman's Sunday, spent some time at Speakers Corner, and strolled through Kensington Gardens and on to the Palace for afternoon Tea.
My husband and son in law made it to Duxford for a day and reported you would need a week to see everything in the museum.
We took the train from Waterloo Station and spent the better part of one day at Hampton Court. We highly recommend a visit here: the buildings and history are amazing.
We had ordered tickets for Dreamboats and Petticoats at the Playhouse Theatre. What a blast for just a fun evening: no philosophical or social/political message to be had that night.
We spent one afternoon doing a self guided Dickens Walk in the old City which was really neat as you went in and out of obscure alleys to find pubs, buildings, houses, and stores that have been recorded as part of literary history by Dickens.
We also took two day trips through International Friends and we highly recommend this tour group. Very small groups in a small bus and the tour guide David for both trips was fantastic!! For both trips, we left at 7:30 and returned at 5:30. We realize one day does not allow time to see the sights in depth, but it is an introduction to England outside of London. The landscapes and scenery were beautiful
On one day we went to Oxford, the Cotswolds and Stratford upon Avon. The Cotswolds are just so beautiful!! The second day was a trip to Glastonbury, Stonehenge and Avebury. The stone circle in Avebury was, in our opinion, much more impressive than Stonehenge and you are able to walk among the stones.
London was our first stop before Dublin and Edinburgh. There was just so much to see and do in London that we felt we did not do it justice in the short time we were there. We found both Dublin and Edinburgh were more manageable in terms of size and traffic. But London was wonderful and we had a great time in a great city.