We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

9 Day London Itinerary in early Dec 2013 - any advice?

Wethersfield...
Level Contributor
86 posts
43 reviews
Save Topic
9 Day London Itinerary in early Dec 2013 - any advice?

Draft itinerary based on so many helpful TALF Suggestions/Trip Reports (this forum is amazing) and superb advice from a London friend. My 2nd time in London, DH's 1st trip. In addition to 1 or 2 major sites/day wanted to include neighborhoods that many tourists don't have a chance to see (Hampstead, Islington, Clerkenwell/Smithfield, Richmond) and also allow free time to wander, relax, savor just being there. Holiday activities a bonus - pantomime, decorations on Oxford, Regent Streets etc., Southbank Christmas market. Decided not to include any long distance excursions on this trip - too much to see in London! Our eating style is more small plates, tapas, wine bars, food markets with a few pubs thrown in of course! Really appreciate your input/advice. Thanks, everyone!

DAY 1 - SAT/NOV 30 - ARRIVAL

• Arrive Heathrow @ 8:15 p.m. – car service transfer to hotel

• Arrive Haymarket Hotel/West End by 10.15 pm - realistic?

• Walk around West End, Trafalgar Square, Westminster, Cov Garden, etc.

• Any suggestions?

DAY 2 - SUN/DEC 1 - HAMPSTEAD

• 10:00 am - Hampstead Village/London Walks Tour

• Lunch @ Holly Bush pub

• Le Creperie de Hampstead for possible dessert

• Explore Hampstead/Primrose Hill/Belsize Park… The Flask Pub, Sir Richard Steele Pub

• Dinner - Gordon's Wine Bar or Soho - Boca di Lupo, Barrafina

DAY 3 - MON/DEC 2 - WESTMINSTER/CHURCHILL WAR ROOMS

• Breakfast @ Regency Cafe (a real locals place - we love those)

• Walk through St Johns Smith Square to Westminster Abbey

• 10.30 am - Verger Tour @ Westminster Abbey

• Churchill War Rooms

• Dinner on Bermondsey Street - Pizzaro

• 9.30 pm - Ceremony of the Keys @ Tower of London (tickets received)

DAY 4 - TUES/DEC 3 - TOWER OF LONDON & THE CITY/CLERKENWELL/SMITHFIELD

• Breakfast @ Terry's Cafe/Southbank (another locals place)

• 9.00 am - Tower of London including Yeoman Warder Tour @ 10 am

• Lunch @ Tower or Whitecross Market

• 2:30 pm - Secret City Tour w/ Richard Jones (starts Mansion House tube, ends Cloth Fair)

• St Bartholomew the Great Church - stop in before closing @ 5pm

• Cocktails @ Zetter Townhouse

• Dinner @ Vinoteca/Farringdon location

• Stop by Ye Olde Mitre Pub?

DAY 5 - WED/DEC 4 - ST PAULS & LEGAL LONDON

• 8.30 am - St Paul's Cathedral

• 10:00 am - Inns of the Court Private Tour w/ London Walks

• (DH is a trial attorney so this tour along w/ lunch in the Hall is a special treat)

• Lunch in Middle Temple Hall w/ London Walks tour guide

• 2:00 pm - Attend a trial @ Old Bailey

• Dinner @ The Eagle Pub/Farringdon or Soho - Boca di Lupo, Barrafina, Polpo, Chettinad

DAY 6 - THURS/DEC 5 - HAMPTON COURT

• 10.00 am - Explore Hampton Court

• Lunch @ Hampton Court cafe

• London Eye sunset ride if weather good and/or shop, relax, afternoon tea, etc.

• 6.00 pm - Pre-Theatre Dinner @ Brumus in Haymarket Hotel

• 7.30 pm - "One Man, 2 Guvnors" play @ the Royal Haymarket Theater (booked)

DAY 7 - FRI/DEC 6 - BRITISH MUSUEM & SOUTHBANK

• Breakfast @ Bush & Fields Cafe/Museum Street (locals place - 2 min walk to British Museum)

• British Museum including 11.00 am Eye Opener Tour

• Lunch @ Borough Market & wander through market stalls

• Walk along Southbank

• Possible stops @ Tate Modern, George Inn Pub, Shakespeare Globe Gift Shop (tours in a.m. only), Anchor & Hope Pub

• Browse Southbank Christmas Market? (opens 11 am)

• London Eye sunset ride if weather good

• Visit National Gallery? (open until 9pm)

• Dinner on Bermondsey Street - Zucca, Pizzaro, Bar Tozino?

• Post-Dinner -Visit Tate Modern or Southbank Christmas Market? (both open to 10pm)

DAY 8 - SAT/DEC 7 - PARLIAMENT & ISLINGTON

• 9.15 am - Parliament Tour (booked)

• Lunch @ Honey & Co/Warren Street in Camden (must try the cheesecake!)

• Post-Lunch Photo Op: Speedy's Cafe @ 185 North Gower Street (BBC Sherlock TV show)

• Explore Islington - Camden Passage, Upper Street, Paul A Young chocolates

• Stop in for a pint @ Charles Lamb pub

• 5.00 pm - tapas @ Moro in Exmouth Market and stay for dinner @ 6.00 pm

• Southbank Christmas Market (open until 10pm)? or wander/shop elsewhere?

DAY 9 - SUN/DEC 8 - RICHMOND

• National Gallery or leave for Richmond early?

• Explore Richmond

• Lunch @ Petersham Nurseries (a splurge!)

• Explore Richmond

• 5.30 pm - Peter Pan pantomime @ Richmond Theater (booked)

• Late dinner/tapas @ Gordon's Wine Bar or Spuntino (Soho)

DAY 10 - MON/DEC 9 - OPEN DAY/LAST MINUTE SHOPPING/SIGHTSEEING

• Breakfast @ The Wolseley

• 9.30 am - DH gets wet shave @ Trumper's (very cool tip from our London friend!)

• Walk around Shepherd's Mkt, Burlington Arcade, shop in Mayfair, Jermyn St,etc.

• Lunch in Mayfair @ Windmill Pub or Red Lion Pub

• Shopping - Mayfair, Soho, Covent Garden, or tour London Museum, or return to site/neighborhood we liked or London Eye?

• Dinner in Soho - Boca di Lupo, Vinoteca (Soho), Barrafina, Spuntino, Polpo

• Our last night in London…possible activity? Pub Quiz maybe? Theater show?

• Or, Ronnie Scott’s jazz place?

DAY 11 - TUES/DEC 10 - DEPARTURE

• Wander around Trafalgar Sq, St Martin in the Fields, Westminster, St James Park, Buckingham Palace, Covent Garden? Other suggestions?

• Lunch option - Red Lion Pub, 2 Duke of York St off Jermyn St (6 min walk/hotel)

• 1.30 pm - airport car transfer to Heathrow

London, United...
Destination Expert
for Berlin
Level Contributor
5,881 posts
82 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: 9 Day London Itinerary in early Dec 2013 - any advice?

Wow. That's a good-looking plan and I'm not sure what to add other than a big well done. Varied and flexible.

Wethersfield...
Level Contributor
86 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: 9 Day London Itinerary in early Dec 2013 - any advice?

Hello darrenmcc! Thanks for your response. I have been tweaking this off and on since June - reading tons of TALF entries/reviews and emailing back and forth with my London friend who knows we like to do "off the beaten path" activities. So many wonderful things to do it is difficult to narrow down. Our fondest memories when we travel are our interactions with both local people and other travelers so that is what we are most looking forward to. I have a feeling my husband will fall in love with London and the UK as I did 17 years ago and will want to return many times. Cheers!

London
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
22,046 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: 9 Day London Itinerary in early Dec 2013 - any advice?

Day 4 - It's a bit of a hike to Terry's just for breakfast then over to the Tower for 9 am IMO. You may want to rethink (and in general I'd say you're overstating how 'local' these places for eating are).

I wouldn't trek to Whitecross market just for lunch on this day, only to have to get to Mansion House for 2pm.

Day 5- doesn't leave enough time for St Paul's esp if you intend going up to the galleries, and travel to the Inns for a walk at 10am.

Day 7 - presume some of this is optional since several things are repeated?

Day 8 - the tour will be over around 10.30 to 11 which is early for lunch at Honey and Co although you could go to Speedy's first then down to Warren St (walkable).

Day 9 - personally I'd shift the National Gallery. But it might depend on weather and how much time you want to spend in Richmond (outdoors).

Your last day and a half are of course all possible but you are staying right around the corner from Trafalgar Square et al so it seems a bit odd to be leaving these areas to the last day - you could have 'done' them by then.

I would advise that you prioritise so if you need to drop or change something you can. It looks quite rigid at the moment - an observation not a criticism - and anything from weather to feeling tired or unwell to, ahem, transport hiccups can throw you a curve. Other than that it's definitely doable and should be quite interesting.

Wethersfield...
Level Contributor
86 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: 9 Day London Itinerary in early Dec 2013 - any advice?

parklandwalk - good feedback, thanks, and not taken as criticism :) Will take another look at those days and see what makes more sense. Was trying to group things together somewhat logistically. Agree it does feel a bit rigid which I truly don't want. Typically, I make out a rough agenda and then we frequently veer off it depending on our mood, weather, energy level, serendipidity, etc.

London
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
22,046 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: 9 Day London Itinerary in early Dec 2013 - any advice?

Definitely leave some space for serendipity! And if you haven't done so you might want to consider a visit to Greenwich and if you skate (or even if you don't) one of the rinks even if you just end up knocking back the mulled wine!

londontown.com/London/Ice-Skating-in-London

Wethersfield...
Level Contributor
86 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: 9 Day London Itinerary in early Dec 2013 - any advice?

parklandwalk - thanks for the ice skating link , wonderful idea, haven't done that in years but would love to watch some skaters, especially if I can sip mulled wine :) Totally agree with you about allowing for serendipity. Some of our best travel memories have occurred very spur of the moment. As far as Greenwich, I had considered adding that in and may still do that if there is time. Might be a good afternoon activity on our last full day instead of all that shopping I keep writing about! Again, thanks for your advice, much appreciated.

Southampton
Level Contributor
4,447 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: 9 Day London Itinerary in early Dec 2013 - any advice?

I like watching the skaters with a mulled wine at Somerset House. There is usually a rink there (but actually they spring up all over London, including at the Tower and Natural History museum).

I agree you only have really have an hour for St Pauls and that is nowhere near enough. Perhaps switch that to another day.

Maybe try just wandering round and choosing somewhere random for one meal?

Wethersfield...
Level Contributor
86 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: 9 Day London Itinerary in early Dec 2013 - any advice?

Akkarin, will check out skaters @ Somerset House, thanks for the tip. Realize time at St Paul's is short and I had debated whether to even consider doing it on the "Legal London" morning so probably best we shift it to another day. As far as the restaurants/pubs I've listed, most are recommendations we've received from our London friend who is hoping we can at least sample a few of his favorites. Many times we do just stop in at a random place especially when we've been touring all day and just need to take a break.

Southeast USA
Level Contributor
66 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: 9 Day London Itinerary in early Dec 2013 - any advice?

If you and DH like gin, contact Sipsmith's from their website and see if you can go for a tour/tasting on your Wednesday. It's £12 a head but very well worth it as you get to see the first new still in London in 200 years and you get to sample all their products. They told me they're booked up til Christmas but it's worth a try! It's an easy walk from Ravenscourt Park tube and you can have dinner at the Thatched House after!

Wethersfield...
Level Contributor
86 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: 9 Day London Itinerary in early Dec 2013 - any advice?

eaf2007 - hmmmm, a gin tasting? Now that's a unique suggestion. I love it. Keep the ideas coming. And the Thatched House Pub sounds like the ideal follow-up. Yet another pub to try to squeeze into our schedule - not that that's a bad thing :)