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Itinerary questions for 4 days in London

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Itinerary questions for 4 days in London

We are 2 Adults and 2 children - 13 & 14yrs visiting London from 15-18 May. We will be staying near Stockwell. We are planning on pretty much the usual sightseeing since this is the first trip for the kids.

Tower of London

Westminster Abbey

Buckingham Palace

London Bridge

British Museum

Natural History Museum

Evening at the Theaters

Madame Tussauds

Harry Potter Studios

I am sure I will have more than a few questions while planning these 4 days in London and I will post them in this thread.

Since I need to buy tickets in advance for Madame Tussauds and Warner Bros Studios, I started off planning for these attractions.

QUESTION 1: For the 4 days we are in London, we plan to get Oyster card or Travelcard. Unable to decide which of the two would be more economical for the 4 of us.

Another point of confusion is that there seems to be an application process to get Oyster cards for 11-15yr olds. Should we get oysters cards for the adults and day travel cards for the kids?

All our travel will be in Zones 1 and 2 (except for when we go to Warner Studios).

I read that special fares apply from Euston to Watford.

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14416.aspx has a mind boggling array of options and I have no clue as to where to even begin.

QUESTION 2: Planning our visit to the Harry Potter Studios in Leavesden:

Thanks adamhornets for starting this thread - very useful


As of now, tickets are available for all time slots on 15 - 17 May.

With help from http://www.tfl.gov.uk/ - Transport for London - we are planning on taking the metro from Stockwell to Watford.

Leave Stockwell at 9:30 and reach Watford Junction at 10:10. Catch the shuttle to the studios at 10:20, reach the studios at 10:35.

I am planning to get family tickets (83 pounds) for the 11:30 slot - just in case of any delay anywhere.

Let me know if this will work.

QUESTION 3: I gather that the tour takes about 3 hours which means we should be done by 2:30. We have the option of visiting St Albans as suggested by adamhornets or come back to London. What are our options if we come back to London? I am guessing we would be late for many of the attractions. Maybe get tickets for the theater that evening?


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1. Re: Itinerary questions for 4 days in London

Ive heard that Oysters cards can never be more expensive than travelcards, also they only make travel cards for 1 or 7 days.

But with Oystercards you can ask for the unregistred ones and then start with 20 or 30 pouns and fill up later if you need more.

About you itinenerary, british museum can take anything from 5 hours to 5 days and the other things on your list a least 2 3 hours.

If I were you I will pick only a few things and then take the time to enjoy them properly instead of rushing. I made that mistake last year and wished I had taken the time to sock op the atmosphere instead trying to see as mush as possible. Also remember the queues...

Since you are a group, try the daysoutguide for offers

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2. Re: Itinerary questions for 4 days in London

You only have 4 days - do yourself & the kids a favour and skip Madame Tussauds. It's cheesy, lends no "British" or historical flavor.

Definitely DO:

V&A Museum - this itself could take days.It's across from the Natural History Museum

Parliament/ Big Ben/ Westminster hall - a bout 2 hours

Westminster Abbey- about 3 hours

Tower of London- depends on weather - took us 3 hours without the cool Beefeater tour

Buckingham - won't be open to tour/ visit when you're there. You can walk around the gate, take some pics and then you'd be off - 15 minutes. (Note : if you cut thru the park you can get up to Picadilly and walk up there too.)

Kids will love Harry Potter - but it could take 3/4 of your day. Out of 4 days you're going to have to cut some things. There are some threads on here noting people taking 2 hours to get back into London after an early Harry Potter Tour.

Oyster cards were easy - get 5 day oyster cards for zones 1-2 and be done with it. Easy!

Have a great trip!

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3. Re: Itinerary questions for 4 days in London

Oyster cards were easy - get 5 day oyster cards for zones 1-2


Please stop referring to 5 day Oyster cards - there is no such thing!:) The OP can get 7 day travelcards on Oyster or on paper from a rail ticket office if interested in the 241 offers listed here which can save £££'s:

daysoutguide.co.uk/attraction-types/2for1lon… Just get day travelcards for the kids( the application process you refer to is intended for those resident here who want ongoing child rates. It' s not really aimed at visitors.)

Presume you mean Tower Bridge not London Bridge (a not particularly interesting concrete structure although with some rather good views).

Madame Tussaud's (which was started by a French emigree to London btw) may be on the 241's so should not be bought in advance, I'd say you more or less have time for the rest given that BP is not open to the public at the time you are here, and Tower Bridge is a five minute photo opportunity next to the Tower.

It may be that your kids love museums but I would probably have these as optionals, or at least go to ones they have an interest in - they may prefer some time at streetmarkets, on the South Bank, in parks (if this 'drought' ever clears up!), or doing something like a cycle tour.

Other than that things you may be missing, depending on interest/taste:

Churchill's Cabinet War Rooms, galleries - the National, the Courtauld, The Tates (Modern and Britain) and the aforementioned streetmarkets such as Spitalfields, Camden or Borough.

4. Re: Itinerary questions for 4 days in London

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5. Re: Itinerary questions for 4 days in London

If Day 1 is your arrival day from the US, you will all be tired and jet-lagged, and you will also have to take into account traveling into London from the airport, checking into your hotel, etc... So not really a full day for touring. If Day 1 is your arrival day, maybe you could take in Madame Tussaud's in the afternoon. That's something light and fun that should be do-able with jetlag.

The British Museum is open late - till 8:30 PM on Fridays, so maybe you could do the Harry Potter tour early in the day, then plan on the British museum after you get back into London.

That leaves 2 days for the rest. Since Buckingham Palace isn't open for tours in May, you can do that outside of normal opening hours for the other attractions. On Day 2, maybe take the tube to Green Park, then walk through the park over to see Buckingham Palace. Then walk through St. James's Park to Westminster Abbey. You'll also see Big Ben/Parliament, Westminister Bridge, London Eye here. Then maybe natural History Museum in the afternoon. (Or stay in Westminster and see the Churchill War Rooms.)

Day 3, head to Tower of London first thing. You will see Tower Bridge from here. (London Bridge is not really worth seeing - just a regular cement bridge. Unless you mean the London Bridge Experience, in which case you can do that in the afternoon.) If not doing the LBE, you'd have the afternoon to do something else or go shopping. :)

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6. Re: Itinerary questions for 4 days in London

@solroed, @kayb95 - I failed to mention that we are in London for 6 days and have 4 full days to see the place. So I am hoping that we will be able to plan our itinerary in a way that on most days we do half a day of sightseeing and have half a day to soak in the atmosphere and do what we want.

@peapod - Many reviewers seem to agree with you on Madame Tussauds but this is something that the kids want to do.

Walk around Buckingham Palace would be something to do after the Warner Bros studio tour. Or maybe stroll through a street market as parklandwalk suggests.

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7. Re: Itinerary questions for 4 days in London

@parklandwalk - The 2for1 offer is very tempting so we might get day travelcards from a mainline rail station on the day we plan to visit Madame Tussauds to avail of the offer. However, my big worry is the queue at the attraction. It is going to be a tossup between buying online and avoiding a long queue vs buying a day travelcard with a rail logo, saving money but stand in a long queue for tickets.

If we get the day travelcards for the Tower of London and Madame Tussauds to qualify for the 2 for 1, would it still make sense to get 7 day travelcard on Oyster for the rest of the trip? We will probably we leaving only after 9:30am anyway so offpeak card would also work.

Also, we need to factor in travel from Heathrow to Stockwell on arrival and back to Heathrow on departure. I understand travelcards and Oyster are not valid on these trips.

After the WB Studio tour - walk around the Buckingham Palace and/or visit the street markets. I am sure the kids would love to do both.

Cycling tour sounds interesting. Would you recommend anything in particular?

London South Bank unguided walk from the Abbey to the Tower is something that we might do on one of the days. Would this be something to do on a cycle - maybe a part of it?

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8. Re: Itinerary questions for 4 days in London

@kayb95 - Thanks for the pointer about the British Museum being open late on Friday. It makes sense for us to do it on the Friday we are there.

However, we will not be able to combine it with the HP tour since there are no tickets available for Friday.

As I mentioned earlier, we are in London for 6 days with 4 full days to do see the place.

I will post our daywise itinerary next and hopefully there will be a semblance of order then.

A couple of you have mentioned the Churchill War Rooms - I have not really given much thought to it. My older kid, studying World History (WW1 and WW2), would be interested. Let me read up some more. The Walks has a offer on tickets to the War Room after the Abbey tour.

Of course, we also need to consider that it would not interest the second kid one bit :)

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9. Re: Itinerary questions for 4 days in London

There's no point in getting Oyster cards if you want to do the 2 for 1. Just get the 7 day paper travelcards. No reason to pay for 7 day ones on Oyster and 1 day ones for the 2 for 1s.

I think kayb95 has a good start for your timing. Mme Tussauds seems like a good 1st day thing to me. Someone recently posted that their daughter (who I think was 14 said seeing Audrey Hepburn (?) there was the highlight of the trip.

I would group as (not in order except for Mme T) - arrange days based on opening hours, HP tix, etc:

Day 1

Mme Tussauds

Day 2

Westminster Abbey

Buckingham Palace

This day you can also walk up Whitehall, past 10 Downing St, through St James's Park. If you want, you will be near the London Eye (my daughter liked the dome of St Paul's better, but it is quite popular) and the Cabinet War Rooms.

Day 3

Tower of London

Tower Bridge (are you doing the experience or just looking from the outside?)

Possibly St Pauls (relatively close)

Day 4

Harry Potter

Day 5

British Museum

Possibly British Library (fairly close)

Day 6

What time do you leave? I didn't know if anything could be done this day or not.

I'd guess that the best day to do the Nat'l History Museum would be the Westminster Abbey day, but then you probably can't fit in the extra things I had there. You could probably do the walk to B Palace and then do NHM in the PM, but I don't know if you could still fit in the Cabinet War Rooms.

TBH, I would only do V&A if you're interested in decorative arts. I did the highlights tour and enjoyed it, but I haven't had a huge desire to go back, and I'm not sure my 14 year old would have been interested. Some kids who are into design really like it though.

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10. Re: Itinerary questions for 4 days in London

Seven day Travelcards have no time constraints on them and may be used from start of service on the first day of validity until th last Night bus runs on the morning (after) the last day of validity.

But you may wish to use a combination of PAYG on Oyster for adults and one day National Rail paper Travelcards on the days you wish to use the two for one offers. Your children should use paper Travelcards - period: buy them at Underground stations on regular travel days (£3.20 for off peak use in zones 1 - 6) and at rail stations on the days you use the two for ones.

'Also, we need to facor in travel from Heathrow to Stockwell on arrival and back to Heathrow on departure. I understand travelcards and Oyster are not valid on these trips.' Erm, both are valid, actually.

The zones 1 - 6 Travelcards your children can buy will be valid for use on the Underground (bus, DLR, Overground or National Rail train) from LHR to central London and back again. PAYG on Oyster can be used for the journey as well; those who have seven day or longer Travelcards loaded on Oyster can make the journey from the aiport with a bit of PAYG money on the card to cover the excess fare.

Where near Stockwell have you booked, please?