We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

London Trip Report

South Australia
Level Contributor
57 posts
5 reviews
Save Topic
London Trip Report

Background information: My husband and I (mid-late thirties) enjoyed a wonderful 6 nights in London, from 26th December - 1st January before heading on to Paris, Berlin, Salzburg & Vienna. We spent many, many hours on the London forum reading other people's posts and advice. This site provided a wealth of information for us... and I still regularly read the forum to “keep in touch”!

We arrived in London with ideas of things we would like to do and see, but did not come with a daily itinerary. Rather, we enjoyed letting each day unfold. Having said that, we had pre-booked theatre tickets, The Tower of London and 2 restaurants (including NYE) before leaving Australia.

After arriving at Heathrow on our Emirates flight, we breezed through immigration, baggage collection and customs. We calculated it had been 32 hours since we’d left our home in the Adelaide Hills (South Australia). Suffice to say, we were so glad to have booked a car service (Exclusive Airports) to take us to the door of our accommodation, The Montague on the Gardens (reviewed separately). (Neither the Heathrow Express or Tube were operating this day, which we knew of before leaving Australia and were able to make alternative arrangements, thanks to advice from the forum.)

South Australia
Level Contributor
57 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: London Trip Report

Day 1 (arrival): After check-in and hot showers, we went walking with the intention of staying awake as long as we could to help our body clocks adjust (we made it to 7:30pm before collapsing!) We wandered down Oxford St which was very busy (Boxing Day), grabbed a coffee, then decided on an early dinner in Soho (Amalfi). Afterwards, we continued our stroll down to the Thames. We walked across the Jubillee footbridge, past the London Eye, back over Bridge St, along the Victoria Embankment and back along Charing Cross Road toward the hotel.

South Australia
Level Contributor
57 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: London Trip Report

Day 2: After a solid 13 hour sleep (we didn’t sleep on the plane), we decided to head to St Paul’s Cathedral. We managed the tube without hassle and enjoyed coffee and pastries for breakfast en route. After collecting audio guides (brilliant), I walked to the baptismal font, looked down the nave toward the High Altar and immediately burst into tears. I’m not religious - I think it was a combination of jet lag and the overwhelming realisation I was finally (and for the first time) in Europe. I thought the dome and the mosaics above the Quire were breathtaking. We walked up to the whispering gallery, then upward to the Stone Gallery (needed the scarf and gloves) and then up to the Golden Gallery (added beanie). We then descended to the crypt and bookshop before leaving. Our initial thought over lunch (Cafe Rouge across the road) was to visit Tate Modern, but chose the Museum of London instead (after checking TA reviews). Great choice, we thought, and we could have spent more than the 3.5 hours here. We thought the museum was well set out, with very accessible information. We also enjoyed the Dickens exhibition. Great bookshop too. It was a clear evening, so we decided to walk back to the hotel via the Holborn Viaduct/High Street (I think). We came across a camera shop which allowed the purchase of a mini tripod for the camera (previous night’s attempts at photography without such a stabilizer were most interesting!) After a quick refresh at the hotel, we wandered down to Oxford Street for something to eat (All Bar One) before a nightcap and early night back at the hotel.

around about ireland
Level Contributor
336 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: London Trip Report

Great report so far, can't wait to read the rest, it's getting me excited for coming back in August!

South Australia
Level Contributor
57 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: London Trip Report

Thanks, seeitallinoneday. Glad you're enjoying the read.

Day 3: Over early cups of tea in bed, we decided our day’s itinerary. We left the hotel and stopped at a Cafe Nero for coffee and pastries whilst en route to The Imperial War Museum. (The tube is so easy!) We spent nearly 4 hours at the museum and didn’t come close to seeing everything. We spent most of our time in the WW1 and WW2 exhibitions, as well as the very moving Holocaust exhibition. After, we made our way to St James Park where we ate sandwiches, cake and coffee (from Pret A Manger) on a bench. The sun came out briefly and we were kept entertained by the many squirrels. Satisfied and rested, we visited the Churchill War Rooms. We were fascinated by this museum and developed a better understanding of and appreciation for Churchill (and his personality) - great audio guide too. Afterwards, we walked toward the river again to try night photography with a tripod (much better!) before walking through Trafalgar Square and along St Martin’s Place to find a spot for dinner (Steak & Co). Too tired to walk anymore, we took the tube back to Russell Square and ‘home’ for a night cap and bed.

Edited: 28 June 2012, 12:00
ny
Level Contributor
637 posts
201 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: London Trip Report

Great trip report! Keep it coming!

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
1,853 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: London Trip Report

I too am enjoying your report--thanks!

I understand that burst of emotion one sometimes gets early in a trip, especially in a place as magnificent as St. Paul's. Somewhat coincidentally, on one of my recent trips to London I cried in the American Chapel at the east end of St. Paul's. I'd visited the American Chapel a number of times, and I always find it very moving, but for some reason that time I really got emotional. Perhaps because it was the day before Remembrance Sunday?

I would have chosen the Museum of London over Tate Modern, too. I do love the MoL, and the bookstore is indeed fantastic!

Looking forward to more. Thanks for posting.

Roeselare, Belgium
Level Contributor
1,705 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: London Trip Report

Enjoying your report! Me too, I love to browse the TA forum to keep in touch ;-)

Both pre and post travel, it makes a great read and never fails to deliver new suggestions making us eager to return to London!

Can't wait for the rest of your trip...

South Australia
Level Contributor
57 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: London Trip Report

Thank you for comments and encouragement. The next stage:

Day 4: Our excursion today was to The Tower of London (tickets bought whilst in Australia). Again, we used the audio guide and chose the parts we wanted to listen to. We took our time - I was in awe of the buildings themselves! We weren’t interested in seeing the Crown Jewels, but echo the advice of others on the forum - if you want to see them, arrive at The Tower early and queue there first (the queue only got longer as the day went on). We left mid afternoon and walked across the Tower Bridge, which was closed to vehicles, past HMS Belfast (closed unfortunately) and located a tube station to take us back to the hotel. An afternoon nap was needed before our 8pm reservation at Clos Maggiore (booked before leaving Australia). We were delighted to be seated in the conservatory and enjoy a wonderful meal, wine and service (reviewed separately).

South Australia
Level Contributor
57 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: London Trip Report

Day 5: Over breakfast at a nearby Patisserie Valerie, we decided on a morning at the Science Museum. The ground floor was our favourite, though I also found the “Who am I?” gallery on the first floor informative. After a few hours (we had arrived at opening time), we caught the tube back to the Westminster Station and found a place for coffee and sandwiches before going to The Courtauld Gallery. Wow! It was wonderful to be in a place so quiet and so wonderfully set out with such an impressive collection. We both thoroughly enjoyed our time there. Back to the hotel for a refresh, then onto the theatre district. We had a quick meal near the Palladium before seeing The Wizard of Oz (chosen for sentimental reasons). Very happy with our seats (thanks Theatre Monkey) and very impressed with the sound, music, sets, touches of comedy, special effects - just wonderful. Then ‘home’ to bed.

Nijmegen...
Level Contributor
3,470 posts
52 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: London Trip Report

nice report, sound rather relaxed even though you saw quite a few think

Will you post a link to the tripod pics?