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Getting it Right This Time!

Nashville, Tennessee
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Getting it Right This Time!

Hello! I would like to get some feedback on a 7 day itinerary for London in May. My boyfriend and I went to Paris 3 years ago and took a day trip to London on the Eurostar. In hindsight I would never recommend this. A city like London certainly deserves more than a day and I felt like we “stole” a day from our wonderful Parisian experience (it also rained most of the day!). We really only saw one sight, the Tower of London, but did not see the Crown Jewels so must go back.

We have an early morning flight out of Chicago so we’ll actually be arriving in London at 10:45 pm on Friday the 23rd. Hopefully we’ll be able to get some sleep and wake up refreshed and ready to go. We’re staying at the Citadines Trafalgar Square which appears to be very centrally located to all the sites as well as the Tube. I would like to know if we’ve crammed too much into this. I would love to go the Cotswolds but I don’t think it’s doable in 7 days. There’s always next time!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

National Gallery & National Portrait Gallery

Trafalgar Square/Leicester Square

British Museum

Piccadilly Circus

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace at 11:30 (get there by 10:30)

St. James Park

Churchill War Rooms

Afternoon Tea (any suggestions – otherwise will check out www.afternoonteaonline.com)

Thames River Cruise or Guided Pub Walk (www.walks.com)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Houses of Parliament/Big Ben

Westminster Abbey

Explore South Bank (Tate Modern?)

Haunted London Walk

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Covent Garden

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Tower of London

Jack the Ripper Tour

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Day Trip to Windsor Castle

Theater – The Bodyguard

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Victoria & Albert Museum

Kensington Palace/Princess Di Memorial

Hyde Park

Shopping at Harrods

Friday, May 30, 2014

Hampton Court Palace (I am a Tudors fan)

More Shopping - Soho/Selfridge? Suggestions?

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Return Home

Detroit, Michigan
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5,316 posts
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1. Re: Getting it Right This Time!

Your itinerary sounds pretty do-able for the most part. On your Saturday, that's a lot of museums to see in one day. You could easily spend several hours in all three of them. You may want to trim it down to two. Or spread them out throughout your week.

On your Tuesday, I would switch things up a bit. Start off at Tower of London when the crowds are less. See the crown jewels first before the line gets long and then see the rest of the it. Have lunch, then head to St. Paul's Cathedral. Then spend some time, have dinner at Covent Garden before the Ripper Walk.

Seattle, Washington
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287 posts
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2. Re: Getting it Right This Time!

re Saturday, May 24, 2014

National Gallery & National Portrait Gallery

Trafalgar Square/Leicester Square

British Museum

Piccadilly Circus

>>>> Museums

- are you one just to glance & move on or do you spend more time looking at things?

It took me 2 visits and at least a total of 5 hours to see the majority of the V & A- same with the National Gallery

And I have only made 2 Rooms of the British Museum at all! The BM can take a whole day.

I suggest going to the BM another day but you could add Convent Gardens to that day as it not far from Trafalgar Square.

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3. Re: Getting it Right This Time!

Saturday - I agree this is a lot of museums in one day unless you only have very specific things you want to see. For example, on one trip I only wanted to see Tudor and earlier portraits at the NPG. On another trip, I only did the medieval Europe part of the British Museum. They do all offer highlights audiotours (and probably free guided tours - I know the BM does free gallery talks but not sure about highlights tours) which can give you a good overview. I think I was there 1-2 hours for the NPG and 2-3 hours (including a gallery talk) for the BM (not counting the Horse special exhibit which I also saw that trip).

You could conceivably do Westminster Abbey after the CoG and then the Churchill War Rooms, but not on a Sunday as they're not open for sightseeing that day. I think the audioguide took me about 2 hours and the Verger tour (which I recommend) was about 1.5 hrs. I think you really need 2-3 hrs minimum to see WA. The Churchill War Rooms are open later though, so you might be able to still fit them in. It takes 1.5-2hrs for the audioguide through the actual War Rooms and then the Churchill part depends on your interest. On our first trip my daughter wasn't interested, so we were in that part less than an hour (I think) but then I went back myself and think I was there 3-4 more hours, which was pretty much seeing everything.

This would open up a day for museums.

Mon looks fine.

Tues - I agree with doing the Tower first, especially if you want to see the Crown Jewels.

Wed looks fine.

Thurs you either need to plan what you want to see at the V&A or stay there all day. On our last trip, my daughter and I were just going to see the Medieval and Renaissance galleries, and I think we were there 4 or 5 hours (including lunch) and didn't finish.

I'm not sure what the exhibit is at Ken Palace, but I didn't really think it was worth the money unless you're really interested in Queen Victoria. It was a couple years ago when I went though, so they may have changed the exhibition, and I think there's some sort of fashion exhibit coming up there.

Fri - I wouldn't leave any important shopping for a HCP day, especially if you're a Tudor fan. My daughter and I were there 5 hours and didn't make it to the gardens (we went in Jan, so not the best time for gardens, but we still spent 5 hours in the palace). She wants to go back sometime and see more.

I liked Afternoon Tea at the Capital Hotel, but I don't have much to compare it to as I've never had a full AT anywhere else. It would fit in geographically with the V&A/Hyde Park/KP day if you have time - it takes a couple of hours.

If you have time, you might like the Treasures exhibit at the British Library. It's relatively near the British Museum and free. Last time I was there they had letters from Henry VIII when he was young, but the exhibits change periodically. I'd imagine there's usually something Tudor there though. They also have the Magna Carta (all the time) and things like handwritten Beatles lyrics. I'd say that takes 1-2 hours depending on your interest level.

Oakham, United...
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4. Re: Getting it Right This Time!

The museums are free. You can pop in for 15 minutes,change your mind, and you've lost nothing. Or go back for 2 or 3 short visits. I liked the Sutton hoo stuff best at the Bm, of what I've seen

Bath UK
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for Bath
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5. Re: Getting it Right This Time!

As others have mentioned, it is really easy to just pop into the museums (so you can visit them in bite-sized chunks).

The British Museum stays open until 20:30 on Fridays (I've sometimes found galleries deserted), and the V&A until 22:00. At the latter they usually have drinks (and music) in the entrance and the courtyard garden. Look closer to the time to see if there special concerts/events and do look at the bling of the cafe. Yes the courtyard will be packed if it a lovely evening, but the galleries aren't.

Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: Getting it Right This Time!

Nice to see a well thought out itinerary. Well done.

My only comment would be that the Tate Gallery is right across the Thames from St. Pauls via the Milenium bridge, so that may be one thing to consider instead of doing it on two separate days. You could change one of the days to include Tower of London, short bus ride to St. Pauls, over the bridge to the Tate, then walk up to Tower Bridge, walk over to Tower Hill and catch the Jack the Ripper walk. It's not a long walk to the Tower Bridge and farnkly can't see you spending too much time at the Tate, so you should have plenty of time.

Last but not least, enjoy.

Nashville, Tennessee
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7. Re: Getting it Right This Time!

Thank you all for the feedback! This has been so helpful!!!

8. Re: Getting it Right This Time!

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