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My Crazy Ambitious London Itinerary - thoughts?

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My Crazy Ambitious London Itinerary - thoughts?

My husband and I are going to London and Paris for our honeymoon this October. We don't have a lot of time to spend in London, so we want to make the most of it! I've been researching everything down to how long it takes to travel on the tube in between locations.

For those of you who have been to London, is this too much? Or do you think it's possible? I know it's ambitious. We've already talked about pushing ourselves in London to see as much as possible and then relaxing at a more leisurely pace in Paris. We don't mind getting up early and running ourselves ragged, but I also don't want to be disappointed if we miss a lot of things by biting off more than we can chew. So, your advice is much appreciated! Thanks in advance!

(Please note: We have already paid for the day trip outside of London, tickets to London Restaurant Festival's Japanese Journey, and tickets to Warner Bros. So, we will definitely not be cutting these activities. We also bought the London Pass with travelcard).

Day One:

11:45am Arrive in London at Heathrow Airport

2:15pm Arrive at hotel in Central London

3:00pm-4:00pm Westminster Abbey

4:00pm-4:15pm Rush to Royal Mews (last entry at 4:15pm)

4:15pm-5:00pm Royal Mews & Buckingham Palace

*If we miss Royal Mews, go to The Goring Hotel for afternoon tea instead.*

5:00pm-6:00pm Kensington Palace & Gardens (last entry at 5pm)

6:20pm-6:50pm Twinings @ 216 Strand

7:05pm-8:05pm London Eye (sunset is at 6:33pm; last entry at 8:30pm)

Day Two:

8:30am-2:30pm Go to Warner Bros. Studio Harry Potter (includes travel time)

2:30pm-4:00pm Natural History Museum

4:00pm-5:30pm Victoria & Albert Museum

5:50pm-8:30pm British Museum

Day Three:

8:00am-8:00pm Day trip to Stonehenge & Bath

Day Four:

9:00am-10:30am Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Tour

10:50am-12:50pm London Restaurant Festival Japanese Journey (lunch)

12:50pm-12:55pm Walk through Trafalgar Square

1:00pm-2:00pm Benjamin Franklin House

2:10pm-5:30pm Tower of London

5:35pm-6:05pm Thames River Cruise to Westminster

6:25pm London Restaurant Festival Japanese Journey (dinner)

After dinner Walk around Hyde Park & see Diana Memorial Fountain

Day Five:

9:30am-11:00am St. Paul’s Cathedral

11:00am-11:45am Walk across Millennium Bridge to Borough Market

12:00pm Check out of hotel

1:30pm Depart London from St. Pancras Int’l

4:50pm Arrive in Paris at Gare du Nord

Edited: 24 August 2013, 21:45
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41. Re: My Crazy Ambitious London Itinerary - thoughts?

Hi CHAroma

I'll leave others to comment on the rest of the itinerary, I just wanted to ask whether you've already booked your Harry Potter tickets ... because I was booking a couple of days ago for late October to take my granddaughter, and the earliest ticket I could get was 2.30, the early tickets sell out first

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42. Re: My Crazy Ambitious London Itinerary - thoughts?

In my opinion your revised itinerary is still crazy and overly ambitious. No disrespect intended but you do seem to be fixated with specific timings. You really can't plan your trip down to the minute like this because any number of things can 'throw a spanner in the works', and quite often do on a daily basis.

London does work well overall, but it doesn't work like clockwork all day every day. No city does. Allow yourselves a bit of breathing space.


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43. Re: My Crazy Ambitious London Itinerary - thoughts?

1:00pm-4:00pm Tower of London (closes at 5:30pm)

4:00pm-4:10pm Take tube from Tower Hill to Embankment/Piccadilly Circus


Is there a website that you are using that tells you that you can get from within the Tower of London, walk to Tower Hill tube station, wait for the tube to arrive, alight at Embankment and walk to Picadilly Circus in 10 minutes? Because that is not realistic.

It is going to take you 7-10 minutes just to walk from wherever you are inside the Tower of London to the tube. You then have to make your way to the platform, and...wait. The tube is not waiting there for you to whisk you away. Once you get on the tube, it is six stops to Embankment, and then a short walk to Piccadilly Circus.

Google maps pegs it at 28 minutes, all told, at 4:00 pm, and that is from as near to the entrance of the Tower of London as I can get it.

The time you spend getting somewhere isn't just the time on the tube. It's walking to the tube, walking down several flights of stairs, or grinding your teeth on an escalator because two people are standing side by side and no one can pass. Then getting to the platform and waiting. getting on the tube. Riding. Getting off, and repeating the whole process. Emerging, sometimes from three stories undergound.

The tube is very efficient, but it is not Tardis.

Please let us know the source of your planning. If we are all on the same page, things might go more smoothly.

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44. Re: My Crazy Ambitious London Itinerary - thoughts?

Day 4 - I would switch the Globe Theatre with the Tower of London. If you want to see the crown jewels without a massive queue, you need to go there asap after opening. The Tower could take hours, depending on your interest level, while the Globe will be a much shorter visit.

You may also want to think about the fact that St. Paul's is situated across the Millennium footbridge from the Globe so you may want to group those together.

Are you using cabs during your trip because you think it might get you to your destination faster than the Tube?

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45. Re: My Crazy Ambitious London Itinerary - thoughts?

If you use the journey planner at www.tfl.gov.uk you can usually put in your location (like the Tower of London) and it will give you walking and transport times. I would use that as the minimum. For walking, I find Google maps walking directions to be reasonably ok as long as you realize it doesn't account for stopping to look at things or leisurely strolling. There's also www.walkit.com which takes you through more pedestrian areas than google, IME.

Overall, I think this itinerary looks better than the first, but I still think you're packing in more than you will be able to do.

I'm not sure it's worth going all the way from Westminster to Kensington Gardens to have tea at the Orangery. I haven't had tea there myself, but I haven't been overwhelmed with the feedback I've seen. Also, I don't think they do reservations, so you may have a wait and afternoon tea is a leisurely thing. Most of the places I've seen with time slots allow 90 min.

You also seem to be jumping around a lot on day 1. From Westminster to Kensington to Temple and back to Westminster. That means you spend a lot of time in transit and not much seeing things. I'm pretty sure there's a bus that goes from Westminster up the Strand (the 29, maybe? I didn't look that up) so it would go past Twinings. Actually, I think you'd have to get off at Aldwych and walk the short way up the Strand. Maybe you could find somewhere for afternoon tea near Westminster? I know they do it at Inn the Park in St James's Park. You can google for the menu. I've never eaten there, but it's closer to where you'll be and looks nice from the outside.

I'd probably also just walk from Twinings back to the London Eye along the Thames since you are going after dark. You could take a bus or the tube from Temple though.

I think you have too much on day 2, but since you end with the BM, which is free, it doesn't really matter how much time you have. They have guides on the website for what to see if you have 1 hr, 3 hrs, etc. I'd print a few of those, although I think there may be leaflets with those on them available too.

I agree with switching the Tower and the Globe. You could conceivably do St Paul's after the Tower and then the Globe after St Paul's as I think the last Globe tour is after St Paul's closes. I've never actually done the tour though, only been to plays. That would give you more time on day 2. Where's the Japanese Journey?

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46. Re: My Crazy Ambitious London Itinerary - thoughts?

I am not going to comment on your itinerary as it's all been said already.

What I did want to say was that I found the Twinings store to be vastly overrated. I was disappointed to see so much packaged tea exactly as I have in my local supermarket.

To date, my store preference for tea (in terms of stock and ambience) is Fortnum & Mason.

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47. Re: My Crazy Ambitious London Itinerary - thoughts?

Day 1 is nonsense. Heathrow is one the busiest airports in the world. To land, clear immigration, and get into Central London in 90 mins is crazy. On Heathrows best day that won't happen, never mind a normal. What happens as well if immigration queues slow you down as is often the case, or your flight is delayed. Allow double the time you had planned.

And think of jet lag and travel tiredness. Do you really want to dash around like a maniac straight off a long flight?

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48. Re: My Crazy Ambitious London Itinerary - thoughts?

You are young, and you may be able to sleep on the flight, but I suspect that by 1700 on arrival day you might not care if you have tea at the Orangery (underwhelming, in any event) or not, as you will be very weary.

Laura has commented about the precise timings of the Underground, and indeed there is no time built in for the process as she's mentioned. You've added journeys by Tube that are, frankly, better by surface transport as well: the Underground from Mansion House to Tower Hill isn't nearly as pleasurable as the views from the top of the number 15 bus from St Paul's Churchyard, near the north side of the Millennium Bridge.

Rather than take the Underground from St Paul's to Tottenham Court Road station, which is undergoing refurbishments, crowded, and a brisk five minutes' walk from the British Museum, you could take the number 8 bus to High Holborn, alight nearer the Museum and see some of London en route. btgm mentioned a bus from Westminster to the Strand; the number 11 from Whitehall towards Liverpool Street will drop you at the Royal Courts of Justice, with 216 Strand (Twinings) just across the road.

The 15 to the Tower will give you a great view from the upper deck as it curves into Tower Hill, the road, along with a peek at the Monument. The 11 has good views of Trafalgar Square, the RCJ and the Temple Bar. There is much more to see than the inside of Underground tunnels, but it's your holiday time to do with what you wish.

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49. Re: My Crazy Ambitious London Itinerary - thoughts?

From Lambeth North - you can get the 12, 453 or 159 to Westminster (for Houses of Parliament/Abbey) etc. but apart from that, your itinerary is still very unrealistic. Instead of trying to plan every single journey as if it's a Marines op, I'd identify the things you can do near each other each day (2 major, 1 minor) and divide your list into must do's and nice to do's and then just try and enjoy whatever you do accomplish.I also think you're underestimating the possible impact of jetlag, of which tiredness is a symptom or component but not the real issue.

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50. Re: My Crazy Ambitious London Itinerary - thoughts?

11:45am Arrive in London at Heathrow Airport

2:15pm Arrive at hotel in Central London

2:30pm-3:00pm Take tube from Lambeth North to Westminster (16 mins.)

This - even if you do get through immigration quickly, you're assuming you can arrive at the hotel, get checked in (will they let you check in that early?), go up to your room, dump your luggage, have a wee, get out, get to the tube station... etc etc.

The other day it took me half an hour to check into my hotel.