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What to Expect with Lines in London

U.S. expats
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What to Expect with Lines in London

I hope many of you--residents and tourists alike--will contribute to this thread based on your own past experience, so that travelers planning trips can get a better sense of what to expect with regards to lines for attractions in London.

Please keep it brief; include attraction, date time of day (i.e., in the afternoon, or when it opened) and year. Please include any detail that might have made a difference, for example, if there was a school group or tour, or if it was a holiday.

If there is enough of a response, perhaps this could be put into a document so that visitors, while not having a guarantee, will still know what is more or less "the norm."

Oxford UK
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1. Re: What to Expect with Lines in London

What to expect with lines in London:

No.1 - they won't be called 'lines', they'll be called 'queues'.

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: What to Expect with Lines in London

Watch the queue for The London Dungeons as it usually has a large gap in the middle so that people can get into and out of the station. It is usually "policed" by characters from LD, but sometimes they miss someone who thinks that is the end of the queue.

Ipswich, United...
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3. Re: What to Expect with Lines in London

The most striking thing about queues/lines in London is that there are far fewer of them than in most other leading capital cities. Most of the major museums and art galleries are free, so people just walk in and out and the question of queues does nor arise unless there is a special exhibition. Only a handful of sights (eg the Tower of London sometimes) ever really have long-ish queues, and even they are relatively fast-moving compared with ones I've seen in Paris (eg the Eiffel Tower).

Overall, queues aren't really an issue in London.

Edited: 02 May 2013, 22:13
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4. Re: What to Expect with Lines in London

OK, here is what I am trying to get...

Tower of London, October, 20 minute wait to buy tickets mid morning. July, afternoon, walked right in.

London Eye, all season, never waited more than 20 minutes. (The London Eye can take 800 passengers in 30 minutes--the line may look long but is always moving)

Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: What to Expect with Lines in London

The London Eye and Buckingham Palace are not turn up and enter queues. They are by timed tickets, so any queue is just caused by people arriving early for their slots. Although both suggest you turn up 30 minutes early, so maximum time should never be more than an hour. (30 minutes early and at the back of your 30 minute slot)

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6. Re: What to Expect with Lines in London

You can also buy London Eye tickets on the day, which is what we did. This was Oct 2008 and we waited about 10 min for tickets then walked right on. On the same trip, we waited 20 min for the Tower of London.

In July 2012, I waited 10 min for the cash line at Westminster Abbey, but that was while a teacher argued with staff about whether his school group could go in without chaperones. (The answer was no, in case anyone's wondering.)

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7. Re: What to Expect with Lines in London

Amos, I am trying to get a sense of how long a person who buys a ticket on the day and stands in line actually waits.

I have heard many visitors who see the line and don't purchase tickets at all, thinking it will be too long.

Southampton
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8. Re: What to Expect with Lines in London

I went to Kew Gardens on Sunday (28th April). Only 3 of the numerous ticket booths were open at 11.30am -ish. There was a queue of about 10 people at each booth but they moved fast. I only waited about 5 mins. The queue for the cafe later was much worse! Should have brought a picnic.

London & Paris
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9. Re: What to Expect with Lines in London

Re reply #2: "Watch the queue for The London Dungeons as it usually has a large gap in the middle so that people can get into and out of the station."

Amos, I think you're referring to the London Dungeon's old site near London Bridge station. That site is closed, and the London Dungeon is now on the South Bank underneath County Hall (near the London Eye).

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10. Re: What to Expect with Lines in London

Anyone care to comment on Madame T's?