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Short itinerary doable? Plus more questions. Thank you!!

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Short itinerary doable? Plus more questions. Thank you!!

I'm trying to finalize our itinerary and am trying to fit in as much as possible without being unreasonable on timing. I'd appreciate thoughts on my proposed itinerary. We will each have a 7-day NR travelcard, and the 6-day London Pass.

SATURDAY: arriving 10:15am at LHR from US. Take the Heathrow Connect at 11:27 or 11:57 (Is this enough time to go through customs and collect baggage? (Does anyone know far it is between United Airlines arrivals, baggage claim, and the Connect platform?)

hotel is -5 minutes walk from Paddington station. Leave bags.

Walk to get lunch. (want to go to The Victoria at some point)

Tour Kensington Palace (2 hrs).

Walk through Kensington Park to the stores near Harrods and Harvey Nichols. Tube/bus back to Paddington.

SUNDAY: See the changing of the horse guards at Horse Guards Parade (arrive at 9:45 to see them coming down the mall).

Churchill War Rooms (2.5-3 hrs)

walk through St. James Park

Royal Mews (1.5 hrs)

pictures of Buckingham Palace (the State Rooms will be closed. As neither of us are particularly interested in art, would the Queen's Gallery be of any interest to see? Are the paintings pretty much all there is to see?)

'afternoon tea'/dinner at The Wolseley at 6pm (have reservation)

Do the "See London By Night" bus tour starting near Green Park Station/Wolseley (1 hr. 35 min)

Questions> Is there a Post Office in the vicinity of this day's travels that will sell stamps and send out postcards? And will we have a problem taking the Bakerloo line from Paddington to Charing Cross in the morning, then Tube from Green Park to Paddington at night? I've read Sunday travel can be iffy.

MONDAY: be at St. Paul's Cathedral at 8:30 sharp (2.5 hrs)

walk across Millenium Bridge and along southern riverbank (45 min) to the HMS Belfast (1.5 hrs)

quick lunch in Hay's Galleria (45 min)

walk across Tower Bridge (30 min)

Tower of London with Yeoman tour (3 hrs) Leave at closing: 5:30

hopefully see the scheduled Tower Bridge lowering at 5:30

take the Red river cruise from Tower Pier to Westminster Pier at 6:05

grab a quick bite and hopefully see a West End movie

TUESDAY: day trip to Paris via the Eurostar

WEDNESDAY: Westminster Abbey (3 hrs/ shop opens at 9:15/ first Verger tour at 10) Is it necessary to call ahead to book Verger tour?

walk across Westminster Bridge for pics of Parliament/Big Ben across the river. (Parliament will be closed)

Abbey Road Crossing (want to be here in the early afternoon so I can call my parents while they watch the live webcam, and of course get the required picture... the normal tourist stuff. lol)

British Museum (to see the Rosetta Stone and mummies exhibit)

possibly the Baker Street Sherlock Holmes Museum?

souvenir shopping (suggestions for a good, quaint or pretty area for this?)

THURSDAY: leaving Central London early on Connect. Collect car at LHR.

Windsor Castle - changing of the guards at 11. (3-4 hrs, or as needed since we won't have a strict schedule)

late lunch at Cornucopia Bistro

driving by Stonehenge (quick picture) on our way to Bath for the night.

London, United...
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1. Re: Short itinerary doable? Plus more questions. Thank you!!

Just one very brief response from me. The Queens Gallery is just art and sounds like its not for you. However the souvenir shop at its entrance is a really good souvenir shop, better than most you will find. Gallery is not free but you can enter the shop without using the gallery.

Southampton
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2. Re: Short itinerary doable? Plus more questions. Thank you!!

I think Monday is very crammed. One missed train or 10 unscheduled minutes in a gift shop and your whole plan will become impossible. Think about if it is worth paying the entrance fee to these places if you spend so little time there.

London
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3. Re: Short itinerary doable? Plus more questions. Thank you!!

The LP is a waste of money if you have NR travelcards (for the 241 presumably). Do one or the other, not both.

Monday is too much IMO.

Wed is probably too much as well.

Obviously your Paris and Windsor to Bath days are somewhat fixed but the others need a rethink. I think you're underestimating the time it can take to get from A to B and the need for some rest/comfort breaks.

I would skip Kensington Palace completely as well, let alone spend 2 hours there.

U.S. expats
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4. Re: Short itinerary doable? Plus more questions. Thank you!!

Kensington Palace will underwhelm; I agree--rethink and perhaps leave it off.

You might have to be careful about your timing getting the rental car for Windsor. The streets close in Windsor for the Changing of the Guard, so you will want to have arrived, parked, and be in the Castle before then. You say "no strict schedule," but I think you will have to leave a bit earlier than you imagine. Breakfast, check-out, travel to Heathrow, getting to and processing a rental car, driving to Windsor (25 minutes), walking up to the Castle, buying tickets, getting through security and into the Lower Ward.

London, United...
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5. Re: Short itinerary doable? Plus more questions. Thank you!!

All post offices will be closed on Sundays. You may be able to find a convenience store that sells stamps and many supermarkets sell them, but these will be 1st and 2nd class UK domestic stamps, so you would have to figure out how much postage you need for your postcards and waste some money using combinations of domestic stamps to get enough postage on. Better to wait for a weekday and stop into a poast office then.

London
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6. Re: Short itinerary doable? Plus more questions. Thank you!!

There is a post office in Praed St which should be close to your hotel, although you may not be able to use it till Monday:

postofficeopeninghours.co.uk/London_Paddingt…

Others can be found via the store locator (which also gives opening times).

USA
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7. Re: Short itinerary doable? Plus more questions. Thank you!!

Thanks for all of your helpful replies! I really appreciate everyone taking their time to help me figure everything out.

hardygeranium- Very good to know! I do so love a good souvenir shop, so will definitely add this one to the plans!

Unfortunately, for better or worse, we had already ordered the London Pass at the time of my original post. I feel like I should have researched this more. Hubby liked the idea of just having the one card for each of us, skipping the lines was a plus, and with less than 2 weeks until we leave, I felt like we needed to finalize something. Hopefully we will get our money's worth out of it. Since we already have our LP's paid for, we would like to try to make it to as many sights as possible, even if for a short visit. But, like I said, I don't want to be unreasonable in time expectations. Much as I hate to not have a detailed itinerary, it sounds like we might have to just wait and see how our time goes once we're actually in the city. Sounds like we might have to replace something on Wed for something we didn't have time for on Monday.

I see the Kensington Palace is not well-recommended. I guess here is where I admit that I'm a Princess Diana (and family) admirer, so have been very much looking forward to seeing "her" house. And her dresses! (these are still on display there, right?!) I would like to keep it on the planner, even if for a quick peek at the dresses.

LauraRW- Maybe I am not thinking this morning through well enough. It's hard for me to know how much time everything will take! If we leave Paddington on the 8:03 Connect, 1/2 hr to airport, plus shuttle, and arrive to pick up the car around 9:00, will this give us enough time to make the COG? Will we need to take the 7:33 Connect? (Our hotel's breakfast starts at 7, so would be nice if possible to eat there.)

rbgs and parklandwalk - I had forgotten about PO's being closed Sundays! Thanks for that reminder. I'll wait for a weekday, and thanks for the handy locator link... that will be very helpful!

Edited: 30 April 2013, 07:07
8. Re: Short itinerary doable? Plus more questions. Thank you!!

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