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Best way to see London attractions?

Brisbane, Australia
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Best way to see London attractions?

I am an absolute novice when it comes to overseas travel, and I have a disability which affects my ability to do everything, but I get by. I have been given medical permission to have my 1 & only “trip of a lifetime” & my brother is coming with me as my companion/carer/packhorse etc. we are going to England/Scotland & Paris in April/May 2013. And thus far we have booked our flights and accommodation.

I will have to pace myself (pain/physical restrictions) & my brother will go off and do boy things on the days I have to just stay put. We have arranged to stay 3-4 nights in most places we are visiting. London is split into a 3 night stay, then tour around England via train, then a 5 night stay in London again before we head to Paris for 6 nights.

I have a million questions but will try to stick to a few main ones here, if I can! We have a few ideas of things we want to see in the regional areas of England/Scotland, but we are getting a little frazzled (read- I am!) trying to work out the best way to see what we want in London & Paris.

We are debating doing a hop on/off tour when we first get to London, give us a feel for what we want to really see and the lay of the land for seeing as much as we can. I have seen pos/neg comments re the hop on/offs but think it may be a good way to get a snapshot of London- and earmark what we want to go back to in more depth? What do people think?

Then we will be doing regional England & Scotland via train- probably getting a Britrail pass here- thoughts on this idea?

When we return to London- we had thought of getting a 3 day London Pass- with the skip the queue option, with travelcard maybe? I have a list of what we want to see- just haven’t got a handle on where they all are comparatively! Found a website yesterday that looked like it had an interactive map where you could just put in the places you were interested in and then it gives you a good picture of where they all are- but I went to another page then couldn’t find it again- dammit! I may not be able to go out on all 3 days, but it seem more cost effective to buy that 1 anyway- comments please? My brother will rush about on all 3 days, lol, but I cannot.

I do have lists for what we want to see- but as I am lousy at geography and have no idea how long it takes to get from A to B in traffic etc- I need help!!!!!!!!!!!

There is so much info I have confused myself, lol. I just woul dlike to have a simple and easy plan for seeing as much as we can- I have more limts than my brother tho, but he can do extras on my “rest” days!

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1. Re: Best way to see London attractions?

Good for you for doing this and best wishes!

Do you have any official documentation from home, confirming your disabled status? If so, bring copies as this may net you some small privelages, like free bus travel in London, and fast-track entry to some places.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Best way to see London attractions?

The hop on hop off bus tour will give you an overview of sights and attractions. A wise addition to the purchase of the hop on hop off tickets will be Travelcards.

The Londonpass may not be an ideal purchase for you. Unless you plan to stay in zones 5 or 6 the the travel option will be money poorly spent. The jumping the queue aspect of the Londonpass is of minimal value except at perhaps one or two attractions.

tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/visitor-guide.pdf The Underground map in this guide is a good start as is the bus map of major sights and attractions. Neither are to scale, but they'll give you an indication of what is where.

www.daysoutguide.co.uk may have much better options for you and your brother. tripadvisor.ca/…33399792 hoogo has amended and revised the spreadsheet mentioned in his original post; with it you will probably see the benefits of the two for one offers versus the Londonpass.

There are a great many questions about the two for one offers on the forum, have a look as some of the questions may have answers that anticipate what you will want to know. Most of the offers will be renewed at the end of March or April so should be in place for your journey in a few months.

With respect to rail travel, point to point tickets may be cheaper than a rail pass. Check www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times and fares then check the train operating companies' websites for more details, including offers for some journeys. Please don't book through a third party like thetrainline.com but instead with the operators as they should offer the best choice of fares.

With respect to sightseeing in London (and Paris) will use of stairs be an issue for you? If so you may find the Underground and Metro difficult to use as most stations do not have step free access from street level to ticket halls and train platforms. Buses are plentiful in London and a very good option to the Underground; the Overground, DLR and National Rail trains may be suitable as well.

Where have you booked to stay in London?

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Brisbane, Australia
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3. Re: Best way to see London attractions?

Hi thanks for your comments, We have a 3 night stay in London at Charing Cross Hotel, then do the regional bit, then a 5 night stay at Lancaster Gate Hotel. I have no idea what zones they are in, lol. I can do stairs ok- just need to be careful becoz of vision. Buses hurt more than trains, but I am taking my neck brace (oh yay!)

I am hoping for a fuss free trip- & my brother is my companion/carer/packhorse...lol. that is probably the main reason I am thinking of passes- just so it is all organised. I will look at the stuff you have mentioned- there is a lot of info out there!!!! I get a tad overwhelmed by it all- and I want to enjoy my trip as it will be my only & only 1.....

London, United...
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4. Re: Best way to see London attractions?

Glad you have chosen England and Paris as the destinations for your only trip, you are guaranteed to have a wonderful time here. :-)

Both of your hotels are in zone 1 and have excellent locations, especially that Charing Cross hotel is just opposite the Charing Cross station!! Its a railway and underground station, so you can buy there your travelcard for London (presumably better suited as it gives 2-4-1 offers for you and your brother) . If you have a clear plan of where you to go during the 5 days outside London, buying rail tickets should be no hassle. Just book them online and collection will be available at any of the ticket machines in Charing Cross with your payment card. You are able to add regional bus pass when booking your trains. You can get some very nice discounts on train fares if book in advance but Britrail pass gives you maximum flexibility because you can hop on and off any train as you like. Decide which one you prefer.

Hop on hop off bus is good way to get you some taste of London. Where do you want to see? Post your list so maybe we can help you make the best of your time. :D

Edited: 06 February 2013, 01:14
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Brisbane, Australia
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5. Re: Best way to see London attractions?

Hi,

thanks so much for all the info- here is a list of what we want to see- some of it I may not be up to- but it is my "wish list" :)

not in any particular order!

London-things to do/see:

• Buckingham Place- guards

• crown jewels- in tower of London?

London Bridge

• Trafalgar Square – Mary Poppins

• Double-decker bus-Hop on/off? Shops – Harrods? High Street – is that the fancy fashion Street?

• Big Ben

• Churchill War rooms/Houses of Parliament

• Kensington Gardens

• St James Park & St James Cathedral

• St Pauls Cathedral

• Westminster Abbey/Cathedral

• Hyde Park

• Kew Gardens, also known as the Royal botanic garden…also Kensington Palace/Gardens

• Lord's Cricket ground? Wimbledon?

• Windsor Castle (further out from London)

• Notting Hill

• Portobello markets

thanks for any further advice- this is helping me be less stressed & overwhelmed, lol :)

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Brisbane, Australia
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6. Re: Best way to see London attractions?

& actually I do have disability stuff- I have a restricted license, a disability parking sticker, and a comapnion card. I have also just had all my medications authenticated and am getting approval to bring it all with me ... I am truly special, lol... anyway I realise that seeing everything is probably not doable for me, but I really want to see as much as I can- depending on how I cope with each day.

NOTE- we will be travelling regional England & Edinburgh via train- I thought a Britrail pass was the way to ge here????

London, England
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7. Re: Best way to see London attractions?

You are absolutely correct that boarding a hop on hop off bus (one of the two main lines, the newbie is not getting good reviews) and staying there, preferably on the upper deck, for the whole route is a very good strategy for getting an overview of London.

For the rest, for a once in a lifetime trip it may be worth springing for a Blue Badge Guide. They pass difficult exams to qualify and at least some provide transportation. http://www.britainsbestguides.org/

You might be able hire one for 2 half days to allow you to rest in between.

With limited time and energy, having a private guide may help you see exactly what you want to see in the least stressful way, but it really depends on how much information you like to have about what you are seeing.

However, the Tower of London has its own Yeoman Warder Guides included in the admission fee who IME are a delight.

London, United...
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8. Re: Best way to see London attractions?

Definitely second the Yeoman warder guides at the Tower. They are very knowledgeable about the history of ToL and such good entertainers!

With 8 days, you can probably cover most or even all of the places listed IMO depending on your pace of course. As your first hotel is so conveniently located, you might want to start by checking all the attractions in the surrounding area perhaps.

Trafalgar Sq is right on your door steps, but unfortunately not so much pigeon feeding these days. It's a nice stroll (15 mins) to Westminster for the Abbey and House of Parliament (Big Ben is the clock). Buckingham palace can be reached from the square walking down The Mall (15 mins) along the edge of St James Park. But TBH there will be a lot of pushing and shoving during the changing of guards (very crowded) and I am not so thrilled by it. Churchill War rooms is also nearby.

Not sure what you meant by St james Cathedral?

Other Places will be closer to your second hotel. Hyde Park (and Kensington Gardens in it) just beside your hotel; Nottinghill and Portobello Road 2 tube stops away. Paddington station where you take train to Windsor 10 mins walk away.

Edited: 06 February 2013, 08:17
london
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9. Re: Best way to see London attractions?

There are some places that make special arrangements for disabled people. A friend of mine whose husband was disabled used to telephone the Royal Academy and they would allocate her a parking space in their courtyard when she visited there. You can't normally park there at all. There must be a special website rating places for disabled access.

I know there are special taxis for disabled people. You see them with wheelchair stickers. It might be worth getting one for a day to get round the more difficult places.

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10. Re: Best way to see London attractions?

If you are able to show documentation some places do not charge carers admission, for instance:

Windsor castle -

royalcollection.org.uk/visit/…access

The Tower of London -

hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/…disabledaccess

and perhaps you might like a trip on the London Eye:

londoneye.com/visitorinformation/disabledgue…

But it is worth asking everywhere as some attractions do not advertise the fact that discounts are available.

You may also find these websites useful:

http://www.inclusivelondon.com/DefaultIL.aspx

disabledgo.com/en/org/london---tourist-attra…

Edited: 06 February 2013, 16:49