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help with itinerary...first stab at it...need your advice!

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Tyler, Texas
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help with itinerary...first stab at it...need your advice!

Ok, today is first day we have sat down and hashed out a plan for our trip...traveling end of May/early June for 8 nights/9 days in London, 2 nights/3 days Scotland...will be myself, husband and our 13 y/o daughter. We will be staying in a flat near Nottinghill Tube Station and will be using tube to travel around the city supplemented by train, bus or taxi as situation calls for it. Lunch will be in the area being toured and dinners will either be closer to "home base" or in the area we are touring. We have each selected our "must dos" and this schedule incorporates those. This is an ambitious plan. First trip for me and our daughter, 2nd trip for husband (first trip was 6 weeks in college on student program)

Thursday

Leave Dallas for London via Toronto

Friday

Arrive London 6:30 am...

Check in apartment..get settled but not too much...bite to eat...head out noonish...

HOHO bus tour (2hrs) followed by included river cruise (2 hours?) followed by dinner and, if super energized, London Eye

Saturday

Tower of London tour (2-3 hrs)...Tower Bridge tour (1-2 hrs)...

Lunch...

HMS Belfast tour (1 hr)...Monument (1 hr)...

Dinner...

Early evening or perhaps London Eye if didn't do on Friday (HMS Belfast is a maybe)

Sunday

British Museum (2-3 hrs)...British Library (1 hr)...

Lunch...

Charles Dickens Museum (1-2 hrs)...

Hyde Park and Speakers Corner (only on Sundays)...

Dinner/Rest...

Play...Les Miserables or Phantom of Opera

Monday

St Paul's Cathedral (2-3 hrs) (climbing to top!) crossing Millennium Bridge to Shakespeare Globe (1-2 hrs)...

Lunch (probably at Tate)...

Tate Museum (2 hrs)...

home/rest/dinner...

Midsummer Night's Dream at Globe at 7:30

(we have to go immediately to Globe after St Pauls b/c tours stop of exhibit AND globe at 12:30...will be tight but hoping to pull it off...if not, will wait to do Globe after lunch and just catch tour of exhibit only)...

Tuesday (the day that is certain to fail)

Westminster Abbey (Big Bend) (2-3 hrs)...Parliament (walk around) (1 hr)...Jewel Tower (1hr)...

Lunch...

Church Hill Museum (2hrs)...Banqueting House (1hr)...

Mill around Trafalgar Square area, Leicester Square, St James...

Dinner in the area

(Jewel Tower and Banqueting House are maybes, husband didn't get to do these when he was there in college so really wants to see them this time around)

Wednesday

Day trip out of London...originally thought Hampton Court, now considering bus tour to include Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Bath (we are very aware this tour would be whirlwind, but a sample of everything) (however, probably should keep this a low key day and sleep in, do Hampton Court and return home) (maybe spend late afternoon evening walking Kensington Park area, Harrods?

Thursday

Buckingham Palace and **changing of guard** (2 hrs)...National Gallery and Portrait Gallery (2-3 hrs)...

Lunch...

Hamley's toy store (1 hr)...

Kensington area or St James/Covent Garden (Pizza market?)

Friday

Try to keep open to do those things not accompished during week

Squeeze in Natural History/Science Museum

Saturday

Travel to Scotland via train in morning...

browse city

Sunday

rent car and travel around outskirts of Edinburgh area...heading East to catch the "robertson" clan and further North to see the countryside

Monday

Edinburgh castle...

Fly to Dublin in evening

Tuesday

Dublin to Dallas (saving about $500 airfare per person leaving out of Dublin instead of London...crazy!)

Thanks for any input. I was hoping try to mix up days with museums followed with days of non-museum items, but after looking at this schedule, not so sure I accomplished this. Would appreciate any feedback or suggestions.

London
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1. Re: help with itinerary...first stab at it...need your advice!

Sorry but even if you could do it (with the aid of some sort of time travel machine as you don't appear to have allowed any time for travel between sites) you'd be so exhausted it would be self-defeating as everything would end up being a blur. The moreso since you aren't staying particularly near the sites.

Although you've said you want to do your must-do's, I can only suggest you identify one or two of those per day from your list and one other that's a nice-to-do if there's time.

Also on your arrival day have you checked whether you can check in or even just leave luggage? With many flats that isn't always possible.

London, United...
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2. Re: help with itinerary...first stab at it...need your advice!

Not sure where to begin but let me put it this way. You have too much planned for every one of your London days and your timings are way out. Virtually everything will take longer than you anticipate. So start each day as planned maybe but be prepared to be flexible and go with the flow and decide what comes next because to do everything will be impossible.

Tyler, Texas
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3. Re: help with itinerary...first stab at it...need your advice!

Thank you for your tips...we tried to plan activities that are in the same area such that we would take the tube to the area of interest and walk from one place to the other as the sights are all within a few minutes of one another. We won't be bringing our Tardis with us! :) The times I listed are estimated touring times based upon the literature.

This was a first go so I know we will probably be carving out quite a bit...

I am currently working with owners of flat to arrange for early check in, but that can't let us know until closer to date. We will have to adjust depending upon the answer we get. Any suggestions on what to do with luggage until check in would also be appreciated. Thanks!

Dallas, Texas
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4. Re: help with itinerary...first stab at it...need your advice!

The HMS Belfast takes 3-4 hours to properly view her. It's not an inexpensive ticket and spending just an hour there would be a waste of money.

2-3 hours at the Tower of London - a better estimate would be 3-4 hours.

Edited: 02 March 2014, 17:49
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5. Re: help with itinerary...first stab at it...need your advice!

Hmm... I know I'm the 'demented hummingbird' tourist, but your schedule looks quite reasonable to me. (Assuming you plan to be selective about what you see at the big museums rather than trying to blitz through the whole place in 2-3 hours.) You have 1-2 major sites and 1-2 minor sites most days, a couple of days with little or nothing planned, and the sites you have planned for each day are close together, so few/no tube rides (and definitely no TARDIS) needed between sites. (Not sure why Parkland thinks you can't get from Parliament to the Churchill Museum, or Tower Bridge to the HMS Belfast without needing tons of time.)

I think it's easy for someone who lives in London to say "See one site a day" ... but for those of us who are visiting from far away, we typically want to see a bit more than that.

The one thing that jumps out at me as that on Monday you're visiting the Globe and Tate (modern?) in the afternoon, hauling back to your hotel for a rest, and then back to the Globe in the evening. Why not just have a relaxed dinner nearby?

Tyler, Texas
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6. Re: help with itinerary...first stab at it...need your advice!

Activities for the morning are our "must do's", the afternoons are "because we are in the area we will see if we can work them in depending upon how we feel" kind of activities...it is sooo hard to choose...London has too many great things to let pass by!

U.S. expats
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7. Re: help with itinerary...first stab at it...need your advice!

I think it's easy for someone who lives in London to say "See one site a day" ... but for those of us who are visiting from far away, we typically want to see a bit more than that.

===========================

Except that isn't our advice here. Our advice is to see two *major* attractions a day, with a third, smaller one as a possibility. Some who say that are frequent visitors, some are residents; I've been both.

Dream, I think it is great that you are trying to be helpful, but as you have not as yet visited London, I am not sure it is truly beneficial to judge an OPs schedule based solely on your own planning. I say this as an avid travel researcher who has been wrong about my own itineraries in the past.

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8. Re: help with itinerary...first stab at it...need your advice!

Not sure why Parkland thinks you can't get from Parliament to the Churchill Museum, or Tower Bridge to the HMS Belfast without needing tons of time.)

===============

I wasn't. In general there is more travelling than is allowed for and even sites nearby does still take some time. From Parliament to the Churchill War rooms is still a 10 minute walk. From Tower Bridge to HMS Belfast another 10 minutes and so on. At the moment Saturday is a possible 5 hour morning (without travel) which is impossible if only because of opening hours.

No one is saying do one site a day - but 2 major museums in the morning and another 2-3 sites on the same day is a good example of doing so much that it all becomes an ordeal not an enjoyable - and productive trip. It's tough frankly if it's the only trip people can make. Better to do less well than a lot that will be forgotten and exhausting. I could have a nice pension on the number of people who've come back on the forum and admitted they planned to do too much and failed, epically.

Edited: 02 March 2014, 18:16
London, United...
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9. Re: help with itinerary...first stab at it...need your advice!

The times I have passed Speakers' Corner in the last few years it has been one or two elderly men ranting - neither interesting nor IMO pleasant. It's not what it was and I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to get there.

Later on Sunday you have scheduled a show- only a very few theatres are open on Sunday and neither of these productions are included so you will need to move your theatre night.

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10. Re: help with itinerary...first stab at it...need your advice!

Laura -- you are correct that I haven't yet visited. But it does seem on this site that no matter how little someone plans for a day, if it's more than one thing per day, someone is sure to say 'That's too much!"

And again, most of the days here, the OP HAS listed, at most two major sites and a minor and/or optional one or two. Plus ample time to stroll and see a park or shop.

What particularly struck me about the first response was the insistence that there is no time allowed to travel between sites. Which did leave me a little puzzled since the chosen sites on any particular day are very close together. (Easily walkable to a tube stop or two.)