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Two seniors in London

Suffern NY
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Two seniors in London

I have been planning our trip to London and folks here have been extremely helpful. We are two active seniors. I have some mobility difficulty and use a rollator( rolling walker) to tour( and sit). We are staying for 9 nights at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Most of our travel will be by bus or taxi. We have 2 organized tours, to the Costwolds and to the Harry Potter Studio Tour both by coach already booked. I am wondering whether we should purchase a travel card or Oyster Card? I have also heard that the busses will sometimes wave the fare for the handicapped but I don't know if I fall into that category using only a rollator? We do plan to make a trip to Bletchley Park one day and I believe that involves using the train from Paddington Station. Can someone confirm that for me?

In addition to 2 evenings at the theatre and the day outings, we have nothing else planned as of yet. Wondering if we should combine the Tower of London/ St Paul's/ Changing of the Guard/ Thames River Cruise into a one day event via tour bus or try to do these things over time on our own. We have a day flight that arrives Heathrow at 9:30 PM so we hope that will minimize the jet lag. On our first full day Thursday, I thought we should take the Ho Ho and get our bearings, then return to the area of the Hotel near the river bank and the Eye. We could go and explore a little farther on Friday and over the weekend, and then concentrate on real touring the following Monday thru Friday. I would like to visit the museum where they have the mummies. My husband would love to see something that is associated with WWII. 2 additional outings I am considering. 1) a trip to Grenwich by boat, allowing the better part of the day there and returning for a tea somewhere. 2) a trip to Windsor, which I guess should be by organized coach. What would you think of those? I am pretty sure we will not be making another extended trip to London so I would like to see the important sights and some things like the Cotswolds that have always interested me. If we feel we have not seen enough we could always do one of those " Small Car Tours" that I have read about to fill in the remaining gaps around London like 10 Downing Street and Abbey Road ect.

All in all, do you have any comments or suggestions or do you find anything that we planned that looks like a waste( except Bletchley Park, which is a must) ? Anything that I should consider as " a must"? Thanks in advance. You have been so helpful since I was first thinking of staying at the Dockyards and taking the light rail to tour. I think I've come a long way with your help.

Tower Bridge
Bridges, Observation Decks & Towers, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Millennium Bridge
Bridges, Scenic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Ottawa, ON
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1. Re: Two seniors in London

Trains to Bletchley leave from London Euston station, not Paddington.

Illinois
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2. Re: Two seniors in London

Windsor is easy to do by train. There are direct trains from Waterloo and faster trains from Paddington, but those require a change in Slough. There are 2 stations in Windsor, and I don't know which would be better for you as far as getting to the castle. When we went in 2008, we took the direct train as I didn't want to deal with changing trains on my first overseas trip with my then 10 y/o daughter. I remember having to walk up a fairly steep hill from Windsor and Eton Riverside, but I've never been to W&E Central.

Have you read the articles on the 2for1 offers at the top right of the forum? That will affect recommendations for travel.

Tower of London/St Pauls/CoG/River Cruise sounds like way too much for one day to me, and there's really no reason to do bus tours in central London as public transport is so good. I would just do the London things on your own.

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: Two seniors in London

The museum with the mummies is the British Museum. If your husband want to see something related to WWII I would suggest the Churchill War Rooms which we quite enjoyed. It is very interesting and give you real insight into what it was like in a bunker planning the war movement.

I, too, have mobility issues, but don't use a rollator so I can't really answer any questions regarding whether or not it qualifies you for handicapped status on buses. Check the TFL website which will tell you which Tube stations have escalators and which stops have level access.

Enjoy!

Halifax, NS
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4. Re: Two seniors in London

As a fellow "senior", I think your plan for Tower of London etc. in one day is way too much. (To much for a "junior" too.) I've visited the Tower a few times and each time have spent at least 3 hours there. And if you want to watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, you need to be there very early to get a position where you can see anything but crowds of tourists. I love Greenwich, but be warned that it's very hilly. Bletchley is fascinating. There's a bit of a walk from the train station, but it's not too long and is on the flat. In addition to the War Rooms, the Museum of Docklands has a large, very interesting exhibit on the history of the Thames, including the pounding that the Docklands took during WWII. Depending on what you want to see in Greenwich, you could combine the two by taking the DLR to the museum, then getting back on it to Greenwich. Then you could take a river bus or river tour back to London.

Loughton, United...
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5. Re: Two seniors in London

It's true that sometimes a driver may waive the fare for a mobility-impaired person, or just let them through - but an inspector, if s/he gets on, may not agree and may impose a penalty fare. Disabled people in London get a pass, but not, unfortunately, visitors!

Much better to do things by the book and swipe your Oyster on each bus and avoid any unpleasantness.

Don't recommend Hoho, but do recommend the DLR (which is also fully accessible by lifts etc)

Manchester, United...
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6. Re: Two seniors in London

The Transport for London website states "All wheelchair and mobility scooter users travel free on buses and trams" as you use a rollator you do not qualify. If you were from one of the London boroughs there is a pass you can apply for, but again you do not qualify.

tfl.gov.uk/transport-accessibility/fares-and…

There's lots of info on there about access, for example if steps are an issue with guides you can download.

Most websites for tourist sites will have an "accessibility" section which may help you with your planning. The buses are pretty easy to use, run everywhere & often, so these may well be the best way for you to get around.

As you mention 10 Downing Street - the street is gated off from the public so all you can do is peer through the railings from Whitehall. Whitehall is on the HOHO bus route so if you do this part of the route you will see the railings etc as you pass.

London, United...
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7. Re: Two seniors in London

The Imperial War Museum is not far from the Park Plaza Hotel but probably too far for you to walk.

Waterloo Station is not far from the Park Plaza Hotel from there you can get to Windsor but at Windsor it is uphill to the Castle and other attractions so you might need a Taxi (allow a Day for Windsor).

Greenwich by boat will be nice it would probably be best for you to do the journey both way by Boat,(about an Hour from the Pier on the opposite side of the River from your Hotel) the return by Tube would involve changing.

I think the interchange that you would have to use at Canary Wharf is not very good.

There are quite a few Restaurants in Greenwich if you want to Lunch there.

Edited: 08 April 2014, 13:27
Houston, TX
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8. Re: Two seniors in London

The War Rooms are an excellent suggestion for things relating to WWII. If you are amenable to splitting up for a short while, your husband might also enjoy one of the two hour walks offered by London Walks (www.walks.com) that focus on WWII, such as Westminster at War and one on the Blitz. No need to pre-book; the website tells you the Tube station where you meet the guide, who will be outside holding brochures for the company so they are easy to spot. If you are doing one walk, the cost is 9 pounds with a reduced price for seniors; not sure but I think that knocks two pounds off the price. I've done many of these over the years (most recently last week for Westminster at War) and have always found them to be very interesting. Generally you are on your feet, walking and standing for the two hours, so comfy shoes are a must.

Edited: 08 April 2014, 13:55
London, England
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9. Re: Two seniors in London

Many museums, attractions and theatres in London give discounts or 'carer goes free' concessions for disabled people. So, before booking anything I would check before you buy any tickets. Often you have to ring a separate telephone number.

Most museums and attractions have wheelchairs or mobility scooters you can borrow if the walking becomes too much. If you find London in general is difficult to get around you can borrow a wheelchair FOC from the British Red Cross and they will deliver/collect for a small fee.

Remember that many London theatres date back from the Victorian era and are not particularly disabled friendly.

So, I would also check out the seating. Some theatres have designated seating areas, but many don't and the seating can be uncomfortable for anyone with mobility issues.

Suffern NY
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10. Re: Two seniors in London

Thanks so much for all the pointers. An uphill walk at Windsor might be challenging. Seems like the Oyster card would work for us. We were thinking of doing the Tower on a separate day, but also would like to see St Paul's. Thought we could catch the changing of the guard at Windsor but if we don't go we will have to try at Buckingham.