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Please review my itinerary

New York
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Please review my itinerary

My husband and I will be going to London for the first time in early March. We'll only have 3 full days, so I'm trying to pack important things into a rather short time frame and am starting to get a little stressed. I'd love any advice. We live in NYC so I'm leaving off big stores (Harrod's) and, due to time constraints, museums. I'm really a huge history buff, so I want to cover castles etc.

Day 1:

Our plane gets in at 6:35am at Heathrow. I figure by the time we get ourselves sorted and drop off our luggage at the hotel, get some breakfast etc., it will be around 9:30 or so.

- 10:30: London Eye

- Buckingham Palace (if we make the changing of the guard great - they'll be doing it that first day we're there -, if not I've heard that you can see something similar at the Tower?)

- Parliament

- Westminster Abbey

- Bus tour in the afternoon, dinner, relax

Day 2:

- Tower of London

- Tower Bridge

- St. Paul's

- Jack the Ripper walk

Day 3:

- Hampton Court

- Shopping (I'm looking to wander around some cute smaller, unique places, not super expensive, but not chains that are all over NYC)

- Maybe a show?

Does this sound okay? I know the first day is packed, but since it's all in the same area, it seems like the best way to do it all. Our plan is just to power through that first day and get to bed early.

Nice, France
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1. Re: Please review my itinerary

Hi Kate,

Day 1: I know you want to power through, but be aware that you may not be able to do all of this without seriously flagging. You are unlikely to make the Changing of the Guard, and I argue that it isn't worth going out of your way for anyway. I'd axe it. By all means, do the London Eye, and then walk over to Parliament. Walk by Westminster Abbey, and see how you feel - if you really feel that you can power through it, then go for it. The best antidote to jet lag is to do as much walking outdoors (hopefully in the sun) as you can that first day.

Day 2: If you get to the Tower first thing in the morning, you'll be okay to do St. Paul's in the afternoon. Yes, there is a Guard ceremony at the Tower - http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page378.asp: "Tower of London - a Royal Guard mounts on Tower Green every day at 11.30 am. It consists of one officer, five non-commissioned officers and fifteen men." You may find that after tramping around two major attractions (and possibly climbing up St Paul's?), the Jack the Ripper walk is a walk too far.

Day 3: If you get to Hampton Court first thing in the morning, you may have time for shopping that afternoon, but HC will take up a chunk of the day. I'm not sure I'd cram in a play as well. HC + shopping, or HC + a play, but all three may be too much to hope for.

Seattle
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2. Re: Please review my itinerary

Kate: You might want to work in a nap on your first day if you feel like nodding off. Sometimes an hour or two of rest will refresh you.

Check out http://www.streetsensation.co.uk/ for shopping areas. If you find yourself sightseeing near any of these areas, you can take out time to do a bit of shopping.

Raleigh, NC
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3. Re: Please review my itinerary

Agree with previous posters. Skip the Changing of the Guard. You might consider moving the bus tour to the morning, that way you'll get a good overview and orientation...just ride on top to keep you awake. Plus, when we took the tour in September, the tickets were good for 48 hours, so we could use it as above ground "transportation" the next day. Not sure where you're staying, but see if you'll be able to check in when you arrive in the morning. I always feel grubby after all that time on a plane. Use your itinerary as a guide, but realize you may need to be flexible and grab a short nap when you arrive.

Des Moines, Iowa
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4. Re: Please review my itinerary

Hopefully you will be ready to go at 9:30 am - customs can be a bit slow at times but there isn't anything you can do about that. It may be more like 10:30 before your all sorted.

The jetlag advice and the need for a short nap is something to consider. With the exception of my father (I must take after him) everyone I have went to London with is exhausted that first afternoon.

Westminster Abbey will take at least 90 minutes to tour (suggest planning a 1/2 day personally). If you can work in a verger tour give it a go. The Verger tour takes about 90 minutes and costs 4 GBP.

Depending on how much time you spend at Parliament (are you going when the houses are in session?) and Westminster abbey you may be hard pressed to work in the bus tour as well.

Tower of London also takes a 1/2 day (try the crown jewels first thing in the morning). The changing of the Guard here is much more modest than the changing at Buckingham.

Are you doing the Tower Bridge Experience (which did not do much for me?)

St Paul's - also suggest taking a guided tour (called a supertour) also wander up into the dome and the crypt. While there check out the old Temple Bar next door at Paternoster Square.

Which Jack the Ripper Tour are you going on?

Hampton Court is also at least a 1/2 day.

Your itenerary is full and will keep you moving but is doable if your up to it but you will have to keep moving and may not get to spend as much time at some places as you would like.

Don't forget to take in a few pubs while in London!

New York
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5. Re: Please review my itinerary

Thank you, everyone, this is so helpful.

I don't have a problem with axing both the changing of the guard and the show on day 3 (really, we could go to a Broadway show here, so that's a no brainer for us.)

I do have a question about Buckingham Palace though. I would still like to see it, but I think in March it's not really open anyway, so the most we'd get to do is walk around outside and take a few pics? If so, I'm thinking we could just get off while we're on the bus tour if we feel motivated to do so. Does that sound right? Parliament is sort of a similar situation, right, in that we won't be spending a huge amount of time there? We're not going to a session or anything.

The other thing I forgot to mention is that our hotel is near the Paddington station, so we'll be taking the Heathrow express to our hotel. That's a much quicker ride in than I was thinking. So, I'm hoping I'll be safe in booking a 10:30 at the Eye, since it seems that we should book that ahead of time?

As far as the 2nd day goes, we spend a lot of time walking living in NYC, so I'm hoping that we'll be able to hold up with the walking. We were thinking of doing the Jack the Ripper tour that Original London Walks offers, but definitely let me know if there's a better option! I'm also not sure which bus tour to do. And I'm assuming we'll be able to buy tickets and hop on at any of the day 1 attractions.

I'm really excited for the Tower of London and Hampton Ct. personally. I think as far as the Tower Bridge goes, we just want to get a look at it. I'm not sure that we need to do a tour or anything.

Again, thank you all so much, this is helping to alleviate my stress!

New York
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6. Re: Please review my itinerary

Oh and we will surely hit some pubs!

Florida
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7. Re: Please review my itinerary

It seems to take longer to get from point A to point B than you think it will. I'm a little concerned about booking the London Eye for 10:30. It may take you longer to get to your hotel, then to the Eye than you think. Maybe you could do the Eye later in the day. Sometimes the bus tour is a good idea for first thing because you get to see everything while sitting down and relaxing. Then you can go back to those things you're interested in and spend more time there. Just a thought.

Seattle
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8. Re: Please review my itinerary

Kate: I agree with Dixie's thinking on the London Eye. I don't think it will be particularly crowded in early March (though you just never know), so you might want to wing it whenever the weather is clear, or book for later in the day.

London, UK
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9. Re: Please review my itinerary

Get to HCP promptly. There's usually an axcellent timetable of costumed guides's talks running throughout the day. You'll be able to put some structure into your visit accordingy to your interests.

HCP & Show or HCP & shopping ? You are unlikely to do all three with ease.

If you want something uniquely British, consider popping into Liberty of Regent Street.

HCP does have a couple of gift shops where you can pick up unusual themed gifts & momentoes.

Florida
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10. Re: Please review my itinerary

"I'm looking to wander around some cute smaller, unique places, not super expensive, but not chains that are all over NYC" - Sounds like Covent Garden to me.