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Going to London in November-Itenerary and Safety Help?

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Fort Smith, Arkansas
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Going to London in November-Itenerary and Safety Help?

Hey I have a couple things I was wondering if people on here can help me with. I'm going to London in November from the 19 to the 25 (mind 22-24 are going to be at least partially consumed by the Doctor Who 50th Celebration at ExCel) but I'm going by myself and I'm kinda freaked out about it. I'm 20 years old and I've never been to a city - let alone one as big as London. So safety advice? I mean I know don't be flashy with your money and stuff and be careful on dark streets alone that's common sense. Anything else I should know?

Also, I have a long list of things I want to do so any help you can give me with what's worth it and what's not and how to organize it would be great.

Here's my list:

One Day I definitely want to take a day trip to bath/stonehenge/windsor castle

See a show in West End

Thames Cruise

House of Parlament

Big Ben

Westminster Abbey

St. Pauls Cathedral

Buckingham Palace

Trafalgar Square

Tower Bridge & Tower of London

Notting Hill

British Museum and Science Museum

London Eye

Hyde Park

Harrods

Westminster Cathedral

Globe Theatre Tour

London Zoo

I know it's an unrealistically large amount and I keep coming up with more stuff I want. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks :)

Oh. And I'm for sure staying in the Ruskin Hotel. It's slightly out of the way I know but everything I've read about it is good and it's inexpensive.

Seattle
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1. Re: Going to London in November-Itenerary and Safety Help?

I'm not clear on what kind of advice you want for your list of things to see. Asking for someone else to organize it for you is asking alot. What I would do is plot it all out on map so that you can see what things are near each other and then start planning your days around all that is in one area.

It doesn't look like you have alot of time if the 22-24 is already scheduled. Are you arriving into London on the 19th and departing on the 25th? If so, you really only have a couple of days to do all of the things on your list and you will probably experience some jet lag. I think you are going to need to cut some things from your list as it doesn't look like you have a lot of time to do everything.

Dallas, Texas
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2. Re: Going to London in November-Itenerary and Safety Help?

Which Ruskin Hotel? Are talking about the one in Bloomsbury (on Montague Street, WC1B) or the one east of central London at 386 High Street North, E12?

California
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3. Re: Going to London in November-Itenerary and Safety Help?

Also, keep in mind that travel time to central London from your hotel (if it's the one in Newham) is approx. 1hr each way door to door. I wouldn't plan for late evenings out, as the last train will be well before midnight. Group the "must see" sights by area and approx. time for each location. Also, check opening times/dates (i.e. best days to really see Notting Hill and all of the vendors are weekends).

I would put the London Zoo and Harrods at the bottom of the list and limit the day trips. I'd pick Windsor or even Hampton Court Palace since it's an easy day trip by train. A lot of the other things on your list are walkable in small groups, you should be able to get to see half of them properly and not rush through.

Take your time, and enjoy. Don't over plan and give yourself some time to relax, people watch and explore a little.

Have fun!

Edited: 27 June 2013, 00:56
Washington DC...
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4. Re: Going to London in November-Itenerary and Safety Help?

I would rate each attraction on your list from 1 to ten and concentrate on those. If it were me is skip the daytrip & concentrate on London. Be aware that London attractions are spread out and it takes time to get from one point in the city to the next. Also, get a bus map- sometime the Underground can be overcrowded and a bus is faster and easier.

Fort Smith, Arkansas
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5. Re: Going to London in November-Itenerary and Safety Help?

@TexScott-ll I didn't know there was two, sorry I should've been more specific. It's the one on high street, east of central London.

Also, I heard guide books are a great place to look when planning but I don't know which one's the best. Any recomendations?

Illinois
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6. Re: Going to London in November-Itenerary and Safety Help?

I think the DK Eyewitness guides are good. I think the pictures help you decide what you want to see, and they're organized by area so you can put things together that are near each other.

I think the Time Out London guidebook is good for more off the beaten path kinds of things, although it covers the major sights as well.

I don't know the area of your hotel, but I have travelled in central London by myself fairly often (the first time at 21 y/o) and never felt unsafe.

Raymond Terrace...
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7. Re: Going to London in November-Itenerary and Safety Help?

You might want to rule Houses of Parliament off your list, unless you are happy just to see the outside of it. You can't get inside unless you have a benevolent MP (member of parliament) who is willing to take you on a tour. As you are a foreigner this won't apply to you.

If you are a first time visitor, this would be my recommended list:

Tower of London

London Eye

Buckingham Palace

Westminster Abbey

St Pauls

Trafalgar Square

Piccadilly Circus

Natural Science Museum

British Museum (I found it incredibly boring, but not everyone shares my point of view)

Globe Theatre

Harrods (c'mon, everyone has to go there once!)

With your timeframe, skip the zoo (a zoo is a zoo is a zoo) and Hyde Park (a park is a park is a park)

If you have time, a river trip on the Thames and a visit to Greenwich (Royal Observatory, National Maritime Museum, Naval College, Cutty Sark etc). Well worth the effort.

You can combine a look at/photo op at Houses of Parliament/Big Ben with a visit to Westminster Abbey - just take the tube to Westminster, take the Houses of Parliament exit, and Big Ben is smack bang in front of you. Can't miss it. It's only a 5 minute walk from there to the Abbey. Word of caution though re Westminster Abbey - it's closed on Sundays when there are services. You are welcome to attend a service, but you won't see anything else.

You definitely won't have time for Bath or Stonehenge (the latter is vastly overrated in my opinion), but you might squeeze a visit to Windsor Castle in. Just check to ensure that the Queen isn't in residence - if she is, the castle itself will be closed to the public, although the remainder of the complex remains accessible.

Safety - no problem, although just beware if you decide to go out and party that you don't get so drunk you don't know where or who you are.

Illinois
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8. Re: Going to London in November-Itenerary and Safety Help?

Overseas visitors can tour Parliament on Saturdays and during the Summer Opening. I've done it and I'm a foreigner (although for some reason I prefer visitor to foreigner).

parliament.uk/visiting/…

U.S. expats
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for Windsor, London
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9. Re: Going to London in November-Itenerary and Safety Help?

if she is, the castle itself will be closed to the public, although the remainder of the complex remains accessible.

___________________

This is not true. Windsor Castle has certain areas open to the public throughout the year, but the public is never allowed to stroll through the area where the Queen resides, and therefore never has to close down when she is in Windsor. This year the Castle was completely closed once in June, and will be over two days in December.

From Windsor's own website, the Castle will be closed when there is an official ceremony,

"As a working royal palace, the Castle is used frequently by The Queen for State ceremonies and official entertaining, and closures can occasionally occur at short notice."

But these are few and far between.

U.S. expats
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for Windsor, London
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10. Re: Going to London in November-Itenerary and Safety Help?

In terms of your itinerary, unless you plan on walking by a lot of these places, I would also skip the zoo and the park, and I don't think you have time for Windsor-Bath-Stonehenge. Stay in London. Do two sites a day, and more if you can.