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London during the Christmas holiday

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Houston, Texas
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London during the Christmas holiday

we are travelling to London and we'll be there for 2 days. what can one do in two days? aside form the Effiel tower what else can be seen. We arrive on the 19th and depart on the 21st. is it recommended to get the london pass and the hop on and hop off tour bus or just one or the other. Also I read about many afternoon tea but which is the best one, the one that gives you that experience of a true AFTERNOON TEA TIME. please advise.

thanks,

Rachel

East Sussex, United...
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11. Re: London during the Christmas holiday

Rachel - sit down with a nice cup of tea, do some research - then ask questions.

Mike

Edited: 15 October 2013, 22:06
Houston, Texas
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12. Re: London during the Christmas holiday

Argyle_mikey I've had my tea done my research but its so overwhelming its so much to do in a short period. That is why I am reaching out to those that have been there or live there for help. On the best places to go. I know of the changing of guards, the palace, the london eye, etc I just dont want to be all over the place going from one end to other.

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13. Re: London during the Christmas holiday

Rachel,

Changing of the guard - take a look on Youtube to see what it's like. In order to get a good view, you may have to line up a way in advance in the cold. Not worth it in my opinion, but your call.

London Eye - don't book in advance in case it's overcast on the day.

Afternoon tea - many different discussions on the forums as to favourites. Use the search facility to help you narrow it down as to formality, decor and price. The Dorchester is pricy but traditional. Fortnum & Madon has beautiful decor. Up to you what YOU like.

Do you like museums, historic places, etc? Please give us some clues.

London
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14. Re: London during the Christmas holiday

I was going to suggest The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House on the 20th, but it is sold out, so you would have to look for returns. You could also go to The Nutcracker at English National Ballet, just down the other end of the Strand on the 19th or 20th (two performances each day): eno.org/whats-on/other/enb-the-nutcracker. Although it is less famous than the Royal Ballet, English National Ballet is an excellent company and has recently acquired a number of stars from the Royal Ballet. If you would like to see *a* Nutcracker this may be a better bet than holding out for a return at the Royal Ballet. There are also still tickets left for Swan Lake at Sadler's Wells: sadlerswells.com/whats-on/2013/Matthew-Bourn… Any of these would make for a nice Christmas treat. I'm not sure whether it is also the case in Houston, but here a performance of Handel's Messiah is a staple of the Christmas season. I'm afraid the only performance over those dates is one of indifferent quality: stmartin-in-the-fields.org/event/music/conce… Something of better quality here: kingsplace.co.uk/whats-on-book-tickets/music…

As for tourist attractions, I know that this is not the answer that you are looking for, but really, only you can make this decision. My own recommendations would be the National Gallery, Courtauld Gallery, V&A, and British Museum during the day, and a ballet or concert each evening, but for all I know you may hate museums, dancing, and music, so my recommendations would not be of much use to you.

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15. Re: London during the Christmas holiday

Ask yourself why you chose to come to London in the first place. Was it a whim because it is a very famous city that you have heard of or somewhere that you have researched and like the look of?

London has countless attractions which meet all tastes but we don't know your interests do we. How can any of us advise you as to how you spend your time? Answer is currently we can't.

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16. Re: London during the Christmas holiday

London at Christmas is magical.

Come and enjoy.

London
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17. Re: London during the Christmas holiday

Bah! Humbug!

Illinois
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18. Re: London during the Christmas holiday

If you want to see the Changing of the Guards Dec could be a good time as it might be less crowded. However, you will need to check dates as it's only every other day in the winter I think. They also wear grey overcoats in the winter so they're not as colorful as in the summer.

I would recommend getting a guidebook (I like the DK Eyewitness series). If you don't want to buy them, my local library usually has (or can order) a copy. They may be a few years old, but things like Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London haven't moved recently. Decide which things you want to do, as you can not see all of the must sees in London in one 2 day trip. Especially since you really only have one full day.

I'd walk around Westminster the first day. I would want to go into Westminster Abbey, but whether you'll be able to do that depends on when you arrive. From there you can walk to Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square.

On your full day, I'd pick 2 sights you want to go into. I'd personally probably pick the Tower of London and St Paul's, although I'd have trouble fitting both into one day. It can be done, though.

Whether you can do anything on the last day depends on when you leave. I personally wouldn't bother with CoG or the London Eye (I prefer the view from the Dome of St Pauls) on such a short trip, but it's not my trip. I wouldn't bother trying to fit in afternoon tea either, but just get tea and scones somewhere (you can get them in the cafe at St Paul's and they're not bad, although not the best I've ever had either).

I'd try to find a theatre production to go to on the 20th too. I wouldn't do it on your arrival day if you're arriving from the US.

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19. Re: London during the Christmas holiday

As I am also coming to London in December for 6 weeks and have been doing much research also, I wonder whether you are interested in the shows, musicals or a night at a good old English pub? Is it December you are going? A wander around the city with the Christmas lights will be magical - I can't wait to do that myself. A stroll through Hyde Park after looking at the sights (weather permitting). Or the double decker sightseeing bus would be good if only there for 2 days. Would see a lot of the sights that way. So much to do - I can't wait to get there.

Edinburgh, United...
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20. Re: London during the Christmas holiday

'... is it recommended to get the london pass and the hop on and hop off tour bus or just one or the other.' The Londonpass is generally not recommended here, certainly not for a two day stay. The hop on hop off bus gives a good overview, but I think tickets are pricey, and one can do better on one's own with a Travelcard and a selection of bus routes.

First things first: where have you booked to stay? If you've not booked a hotel you should consider doing so fairly soon. I suspect you're planning to fly from IAH to London Heathrow; after your two days in London will you take Eurostar to Paris and if so have you booked the train yet? If not you should do so sharpish at www.eurostar.com as tickets go on sale about 130 days in advance; once inexpensive fares have sold out they do not return.

Mention has been made of visiting the Courtauld, the National Gallery and the British Museum. All are worthwhile, especially the Courtauld. You might enjoy the Museum of London as it's small but has plenty to see and a great appeal. The V&A is a wonderful treasure trove if you're keen on design.

I think the best way to see the Christmas lights is from the upper deck of a London bus. Take the number 6 or 23 from Marble Arch tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/…marblearch-a4.pdf for lights along Oxford Street and Regent Street to Trafalgar Square, where you may alight and check out the v large Christmas tree.

There will be outdoor skatingn rinks at the Tower and Somerset House. You could combine a visit to the Courtauld with a cup of hot chocolate at the latter, as both are wonderful places on their own but very jolly with the ice rinks in situ.

Take the 15 from Trafalgar Square to the Tower. The bus travels along Fleet Street, through legal London, rumbles up Ludgate Hill for St Paul's and has a nice view of the Tower as it makes its way along Great Tower Street. tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/maps/buses/pdf/traf… Take the RV1 across Tower Bridge to the Eye: tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/maps/buses/pdf/towe…

'Also I read about many afternoon tea but which is the best one, the one that gives you that experience of a true AFTERNOON TEA TIME.' For most people, afternoon tea means a cup of whatever is on offer at the local cafe plus a slice of cake or a couple of custard cream biscuits. There are a number of smart hotel teas from which to choose, but if you would be satisfied with a pot of tea and a plate of (good) scones with jam and cream then try the Wolseley in Piccadilly.

The days will be at their shortest when you visit but don't let that deter you from making the most of your brief visit to London. Decide what suits you and let us know more.