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London - Day 1

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Phoenix, Arizona
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London - Day 1

Hello, I will be in London for 8 full days next Summer. I am making plans for 3 full days of excursions outside of London (ie. Stonehenge, Bath etc.), which leaves me with 5 days to concentrate on London. I'm down to planning my itinerary day by day. Here is my walking tour on Day one. Suggestions would be appreciate it.

Start at Trafalgar square early morning and walk down the mall in time to view the changing of the guard at Buckingham palace. Next, walk towards Churchill War Room for a visit, then head to Big Ben and house of Parliament for a tour of the inside and out. Finish my day at Westminster Abby for a tour of the inside. I'm planning on buying my tickets ahead of time or possibly a London Pass. My plan is to give 2 hours for the changing of the guard, including wait time, 1 hour for Churchill War Room, 2 hours each for Parliament and Westminster Abby. That's 7 hours without the walking time plus lunches and breaks, would make a pretty full day.

Must-see sights over the 5 full days. Trafalgar Sq. - Ch. of Guard - Churchill W.R. - Big Ben/Parliament - Westminster Abbey - St. Paul's - The City - Tower of London - Tower Bridge - National Gallery - Piccadilly Circus - Leicester Sq. - Tate Modern - Hyde Park - Regent Park - River Thames cruise.

If time and budget permits: London Eye.

I will be posting Day 2 after the feedback I get from Day 1.

Thank you in advance for your replies.

Mike

Washington DC...
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31. Re: London - Day 1

Definitely take time for the parks while you're there. Sharing a walk I've done over the years that you might also enjoy:

Start: Regent's Park tube stop

Enter the park near English/Avenue Gardens and walk up the Broadwalk (amazing flower beds & fountains)

When you reach the street, you can either veer off to Queen Mary's Gardens to the left or continue up Broadwalk

Stop in The Honest Sausage (delicious food, coffee, juice) companyofcooks.com/locations/…honest-sausage

Continue up the Broadwalk past the Zoo

Cross over the bridge

Go down to the towpath and walk to Camden

After a look around, hop on a waterbus to Little Venice http://www.londonwaterbus.com/

Stroll around the neighborhood, then follow towpath over to Paddington Station area

Phoenix, Arizona
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32. Re: London - Day 1

Offtolondon,

thank you that's an Amazing tip and the thorough details. I will definitely do that. You are more than welcome to share more of your tips :-)

Dublin
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33. Re: London - Day 1

Just a simple tip. There's a free newspaper, the Evening Standard, which is distributed free of charge, Monday to Friday, in most underground stations. Apart from the museums and art galleries, it is one of the few things that are truly free in London. And it will give you an instant snapshot of what's happening in London, including the odd theatre or musical review and details of other events. Most importantly, however, it will enhance your understanding of London.

Not sure whether anyone has mentioned the National Science Museum in South Kensington (which was recently modernised).To my mind, it is on a par with the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

If you like science, Blueleo, I reckon this venue is a MUST SEE for you.

Phoenix, Arizona
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34. Re: London - Day 1

Thank you insightful, I will definitely look into that.

What I would like to discover is old London, History and british heritage, but not necessarily in a high brow manner. I would love to see WWII sites, and compare to war footage news reels, maybe something left intact since the war. British Empire stuff, medical sites. To be honest I'm NOT into modern London, for example, Ethnic neiborhoods, trendy shops, modern skyscrapers. To me that's not what distinguishes London. Practically every city have these. I would much rather watch the view from St.Pauls's dome then from the London eye or The Shard. I want to see the London of the past. I might have to dig, but I'm sure it there.

Nijmegen...
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35. Re: London - Day 1

it sounds like you might like london walks www.walks.com, I think they have a WWII one

London, United...
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36. Re: London - Day 1

Consider the Museum in Docklands - the history of Docklands from Roman times, its part in the slave trade and building the British Empire and through WWII and regeneration.

Also consider Jewish London - the history of the East End is fascinating and there are plenty of fairly hidden alleyways to explore all over the place (both literally and figuratively).

East Sussex, United...
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37. Re: London - Day 1

Admirable sentiments Blueleo, but I'm struggling to think of a bombsite left in London. Go to Shoe Lane (as depicted in the famous painting : http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/23296) and it's just another big city location with car parks and office buildings.

The alleyways surrounding "Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese" and "Ye Olde Mitre" still feel pretty authentic to me, and of course those two pubs are amongst the very best to give you that old London atmosphere. And of course you have the major tourist sites to see. But think about going a bit "off-piste" for one of your day trips.

I'm going to suggest Norwich, which Hitler thought historic enough to single out for raids : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baedeker_Blitz Yes, I know Bath is included in there too, but I wonder if you might appreciate somewhere a little bit less mainstream/touristy ? Norwich is a great city, with lots of history, friendly locals (and great pubs !).

Mike

Phoenix, Arizona
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38. Re: London - Day 1

Thank you Mike (nice name HaHa)

Don't get me wrong I will do the regular touristy stuff with camera hanging around my neck, and map in hand!!! But in addition to that, I would like to discover the places or ideas mentioned above. I will research Norwich.

Probably a stupid question, but is the town in Mrs. Miniver actually exists?

Phoenix, Arizona
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39. Re: London - Day 1

To all the people that have added replies,

Thank you very much for all your helpful advise . Just because I don't answer each one individually doesn't mean I find them less valuable. I'm compiling a list of all the answers to creat a personalized guidebook.

Thank you,

Mike

Edited: 19 December 2013, 20:05
naperville, illinois
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40. Re: London - Day 1

blueleo65..... I have only skimmed quickly many of the replies......Someone recommended to go to the Horseguard Parade - that is the stables area, and where they line up / assemble the guards, etc., that go down the Mall to the COG. The Horseguard Parade is right by 10 Downing Place, and a short walk then to Parliament Square, Westminster Abbey, St Margaret Church. The 'assembly' gives you an upfront and personal view of the guards, horses, etc.. You could also just wait on the Mall area, I believe, and watch as they go by. I totally understand the 'if I'm here, I should see it', but, unless you get to Buckingham Palace well in advance, especially in summer, the view is limited.

We did the Parliament tour, on a Saturday, the only day for US visitors. The tour took 75 +/- minutes, plus time to go through security (like at an airport), and that line does not move as quickly as at an airport, due to the limited screening area, then assemble in the waiting area. You can pick up tickets ahead of your scheduled time according to the website, to save a bit of time on the day of the tour.

Also, someone recommended a walk from londonwalks. com..... the Jewish walk. We did that as well, the history was fascinating. We did it on a Sunday so we were able to enter the Bevis Marks Synagogue .... not sure what days the Jewish walk is held, but if you are interested in that, you might want to contact londonwalks.com to make sure the day you want you will be able to enter the synagogue.

For restaurants in the evening - unless you really have a specific venue in mind - that would need reservations, I would really recommend just 'going-with - the flow' - you may be too tired from that days activities to want to head back out to a place more than a short walk from your hotel.... or you may find one in your day's exploration that catches your eye.