Chit Chat

London

KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

Hi all,

H and I found ourselves in a situation where we have a lot of airline miles that we need to use or we will loose them. So he surprised me by suggesting we take a short trip to London. Neither of us have even been. So if you had 4 days in London, what would you do? And where would you stay?

It looks like we will be going in July, and I dont know if I want to involve a travel agent for such a short trip.

FWIW, we will most likely not be bringing the baby, although we arent completely decided on that yet.

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Re: London

  • InkdancerInkdancer The Shire member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    Historic hotels sound really cool until you get in from your flight at 3 am and open the door to find a flight of stairs that you have to climb with luggage to get to your bed.
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  • I spent 4 days in London during a 3 country trip. Besides the obvious Big Ben, London bridge, palace, and Westminster Abbey we went to Bath and Stonehenge. London is really easy to get around using the tube.
     
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  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I'm from London, and it is a great city- so much to do. Do you like history? Art? Museums? It would be easier to give suggestions.

    -British Museum is my absolute favourite (it is free and has amazing exhibitions! I just saw one on Egyptian Mummies that was fantastic). I always make sure to take friends visiting from overseas

    - Churchill War Rooms are also really interesting to see what it was like during WW2

    - If you like Shakespeare, see a play at the Globe

    - Have champagne tea at the Savoy

    - London Eye is really fun for views

    - Tower of London is great- worth the high admission price, but make sure you get a tour with the Yeoman of the Guards (beefeaters) and you see the crown jewels

    -If the weather is nice, I love going to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. You can bring in a picnic and wine and just have a lovely day in the sun

    - Hire a row boat in the Serpentine in Hyde Park (like Bridget Jones!)

    I'm happy to help so feel free to PM me if you want some more specific guidance. You will be spoilt for choice in London. 

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  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    I love London! I'd do the big touristy stuff. I loved the tour of the Tower of London. I also loved the Globe and the British Museum. And don't forget to eat lots of fish & chips and curry!

    I'm painfully jealous!
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  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    @londonlisa H and I both love history. I would like to pretend that I know something about art but I dont. ANd I know I dont aprreciate art as much as I should.

    Should we consider a boat ride down the Thames?

    Would squeezing in a trip to stonehedge be too much for a 4 day trip? I havent originally planned on leaving London, since we will be there for such a short time. But it would be hard to skip Stonehedge when we will be so close.

    Is Harrods worth the hype?

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  • I spent several days in London a few years ago. I loved seeing the Tower of London and the Globe theatre.  I also saw a show while I was there, The Woman in Black, I was able to get same day tickets for pretty cheap.  The show was so good, it freaked me out.  The Harry Potter geek in me had to go to King's Cross Station and get a picture of Platform 9 3/4.

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  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Honestly, no, Stonehenge isn't worth a special trip. it would take you a few hours to get there and 20 minutes to see it. Also, it is out in the middle of nowhere right next to a motorway! If you want a fun day trip, I suggest Bath (Roman and Georgian Britain), Oxford or Brighton (fun mix of Victorian Seaside and 1960s swinging Britain). All of those are within 1-2 hours from London and would be a really easy day trip. 

    If you like history, then the British Museum and Churchill War Rooms are a must! 

     Boat rides down the Thames are fun, I like the Tate-to-Tate the best. It starts at the Tate Britain art museum and goes to the Tate Modern art museum and goes by the Houses of Parliament. But I think one of those "Hop on hop off" buses can actually be a better way to get your bearings- you'll see all the big sites (Buckingham Palace, St Pauls, Big Ben, Palace at Westminster, Westminster Abbey etc) and you can see where you want.

    You can actually take a boat to Kew Gardens if you decide to go to the botanical gardens from central London. 

    Harrods is definitely NOT worth the hype. It is all owned by Qataris now so it has lost some of its British charm and is all about gold-plated louis vuitton dog sunglasses. Liberty is the best department store in London and such a hidden gem!
  • sarahuflsarahufl New York member
    Tenth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    ahhhhhhhh! 4 days is not long enough! I lived in London one summer and loved it. I would say skip Harrods. Go to a show, wander around the parks, go see the Crown Jewels, but get there before they open to avoid the lines. Skip Changing of the Guard, Notting Hill is lovely. The Imperial War Museum is a must-see.
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  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    We go almost every year, except this one :( we stay at Le Meridien Piccadilly. It's very centrally located and while they aren't falling all over you service wise (more of a business hotel), we don't mind because it's clean, has a great exec club, and we always get nice upgrades due to my SPG status.

    The pps had a lot of great suggestions. We have done all of that and then some! There are some great museums- British Museum, Victoria and Albert, Museum of London, Imperial War Museum, Natural History Museum. We did tea at the Savoy, st. Paul's, and Le Meridien, which has a neat gin tea. I've got way more to share- it's just too much to type :)

     







  • My three favorite things to do when I'm in London (I've been a few times over the last 10 years) have not changed and I always make a point to:
    1) Starting under Big Ben, walk along the Thames river. You get some great views, seeing the many bridges is really fun, and it takes you by quite a few major tourist attractions (the Globe theater, the London Eye, and "London Bridge", just to name a few)
    2) Covent Garden is one of my favorite little squares - cute shops, they often set up temporary vendor stalls in the center, and it's just a great place to people watch.
    3) I'm a sucker for history, and London is full of it, but there's just something really interesting about visiting the Tower of London. There are some great displays there, and you have the option of jumping on a tour if you're so inclined.

    Have a blast! London really is a fun city to wander around in, so definitely take advantage of your time there. :)
  • We spent four days in London in March on a three-country tour. I LOVE London. It was my second time to London, my mom's first so I let her pick what she wanted to do. We used a TA (it was a two week trip, so she organized everything....

    We stayed at K&K Hotel George which was near an Underground station and across the street from an awesome pub (Prince of Tek). The first day, my mom wanted to go to Harrod's so we did that and some more shopping, then we did the Eye

    The next day we did a hop on/hop off tour and took her to a bunch of different places (Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey). I think that afternoon we did Tower of London (LOVED IT) and St. Paul's Cathedral.

    Day three we did Stonehedge and Bath. Um, Stonehedge is completely different from how it was in 1996 (the last time I was there). TBH, it's not worth the trip. Bath is nice.

    Day four we took the Eurostar to Paris.

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  • sarawifenowsarawifenow Denver, baby! member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    Check out some local fish and chip places when you are there! It is the non-tourist places like this that were my favorite stops in London! Oh that and lots and lots of pubs.
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  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Also, if you are foodies, a trip to Borough Market is an absolute must- make sure you get there early, and preferably on a weekday (it is packed on Saturdays)!  http://boroughmarket.org.uk/. You can walk there from Waterloo Bridge along the south bank (about 30 minutes) along the river with very pretty views.
  • sarahuflsarahufl New York member
    Tenth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Also, if you are foodies, a trip to Borough Market is an absolute must- make sure you get there early, and preferably on a weekday (it is packed on Saturdays)!  http://boroughmarket.org.uk/. You can walk there from Waterloo Bridge along the south bank (about 30 minutes) along the river with very pretty views.
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  • I lived in London for 6 months. I agree with a lot of the PPs, British Museum and V&A are awesome. 

    The Tower of London is expensive but worth it. 

    I thought the London Eye was just so-so. It takes a long time, and the cost is high.

    Compared to NYC, theatre is much more affordable-go see something at the National Theatre. The ticket prices are pretty low and they always have interesting shows. 

    I prefer St. Pauls to Westminster Abbey-the hike up to the Whispering Gallery is worth it, and if you can get a tour it's also great-they take you into places you can only see on the tour. Westminster Abbey is so crowded and cramped and quite frankly...creepy. 

    If you want to get away from the city (but still be in the city) head up to Hampstead Heath. You get amazing views from the park. Plus a little respite. 

    Don't bother with Harrods. It's overrun with tourists, overpriced, and even the food hall isn't worth it anymore. Harvey Nichols is good just to look at designer goods. Fortnum & Mason is fun to check out the food stuffs (though I don't think I could bring myself to spend that much money on food), and Marks & Spencers is great if you actually want to buy some affordable yet somewhat fashionable clothes. I have a coat from there I love. 

    If I only had 4 days, I probably wouldn't leave the city because there is SO much to do. But my favorite day is Bath. Or if you are a Jane Austen fan, go to Winchester and take the trip to Chawton to see her cottage. It's in an adorable village. 


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  • Love London. Everyone's handled my suggestions, but I want to echo the Bath praise.

    We also found a cheapish tour that picked us up in Bath, swung through Stonehenge, and a couple small towns, including Lacock, which is where they film a lot of films, including Harry Potter and Pride & Prejudice. There were a lot of companies that did these tours when we were looking.

    Stonehenge is a slight let down because you can't get anywhere near it, but the whole tour was really enjoyable.
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  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I'm from London, and it is a great city- so much to do. Do you like history? Art? Museums? It would be easier to give suggestions.

    -British Museum is my absolute favourite (it is free and has amazing exhibitions! I just saw one on Egyptian Mummies that was fantastic). I always make sure to take friends visiting from overseas

    - Churchill War Rooms are also really interesting to see what it was like during WW2

    - If you like Shakespeare, see a play at the Globe

    - Have champagne tea at the Savoy

    - London Eye is really fun for views

    - Tower of London is great- worth the high admission price, but make sure you get a tour with the Yeoman of the Guards (beefeaters) and you see the crown jewels

    -If the weather is nice, I love going to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. You can bring in a picnic and wine and just have a lovely day in the sun

    - Hire a row boat in the Serpentine in Hyde Park (like Bridget Jones!)

    I'm happy to help so feel free to PM me if you want some more specific guidance. You will be spoilt for choice in London. 

    I have been dying to go to London and this just solidifies that urge.  God I need to travel more then I do, which is never!

    LondonLisa
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    No advice, but sounds like a great trip! Enjoy!
  • KatWAG said:

    @londonlisa H and I both love history. I would like to pretend that I know something about art but I dont. ANd I know I dont aprreciate art as much as I should.

    Should we consider a boat ride down the Thames?

    Would squeezing in a trip to stonehedge be too much for a 4 day trip? I havent originally planned on leaving London, since we will be there for such a short time. But it would be hard to skip Stonehedge when we will be so close.

    Is Harrods worth the hype?

    DH and I were in London for 5 days at the start of our trip to Europe. We booked a day trip that went to Stonehenge, Bath, drove through the Cotswolds, and went to Stratford-upon-Avon to see Shakespeare's birth house. I really enjoyed it. Stonehenge was something we both really wanted to see.

    I ditto the PP that said the British Museum. We loved it. It was DH's favourite part of our whole trip and we would have gone back a second day if we had more time.

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  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    We stayed in a hotel just a few blocks north of Hyde Park. We were near a couple Tube stations and it was super easy to get around. Funny story about the Tower of London and the Yeoman tour--- our tour guide told us about someone who was beheaded (lots of people, actually) who had his official portrait done after the beheading. The portrait was apparently in the National Gallery (LondonLisa correct me if I put the wrong museum name there). So, we later went to the Gallery and wanted to see Mr. Beheaded. We asked a docent there about it and he literally sighed heavily and said, "Did you come from the Tower of London? They always get that story wrong."
    ________________________________


  • Dont forget the Pubs.  I loved the Pubs.
  • jenna8984jenna8984 clam bakes & patriots member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer

    @maggie0829 I will be your travel buddy- let's go! lol. We are actually planning to go for our 1 year anniversary trip next fall.

    I went when I was 12 (umm the height of the Spice Girls reign which was fucking awesooooome) and all I remember is ordering a lemonade and receiving a sprite lol. My brother and I tried getting a Beefeater to crack, and when we turned away from him my mom snapped a pic of him giving us bunny ears. A year later she got a London brochure in her travel agency office and that exact guy was featured. We thought that was so cool!

                                                                     

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  • WAR ROOMS.


    We stayed in the Rathbone Hotel.  Not too expensive, very close to a tube stop, pretty much walking distance to British museum.  Also super tasty restaurants really close by.


    I'd want more days only because when we went to London, our time spent OUTSIDE of London was the best part. 

  • csuavecsuave member
    500 Comments Third Anniversary 100 Love Its Name Dropper

    I did the big red bus tour and it was good but I felt like I saw more when I took the tube and then walked a few blocks to things I wanted to see, like Abbey Road.  Walking to get to where I was going I noticed a lot of neat things.

    I second food souvenirs from Fortnum Mason.  I also really like shopping at Marks and Spencer for food souvenirs and believe it or not greeting cards.  They had a great selection. 

  • I lived there for a year and some change, it is an amazing place!   I also think Bath is a worth it excursion. 

    My favorite restaurants in London are Sketch in Mayfair (A little pricey, but soooo good, you have to see the bathrooms, they are these weird pod things)   https://www.sketch.uk.com/ 

    Also LMNT it is in Hackney a bit off the beaten path, but so worth it, the food is amazing and really reasonably priced and the decor is out of this world, they have tree house type of booths that you have to climb up stairs to them so it is really private and fun.  We usually have a big group with us so we sit above the bar.  http://www.lmnt.co.uk/  

    Have fun!  It is a hard place not to fall in love with!   
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  • 4 days in London is not enough time but go anyway! My husband and I went to London for our Honeymoon and loved it! Because that was our first time in the city, we stuck with the touristy stuff like the tower, Westminster Abbey, walking by Big Ben, going to the Globe. We also hit up some of the museums. We loved it all! If you like theater as well, London has some amazing plays to see too! Also, if you're willing to take a train a bit out of the city, we could go to Windsor Castle (20 minutes away). It was amazing!
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  • erinlin25erinlin25 member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    edited June 2014
    I love love love London! Can't wait until I get to go back. I suggest doing one of the double decker bus tours; it takes you here and there so you get a taste of the main points and then the following days you can go back to areas you want to explore more. Piccadilly Circus has a lot of shopping. The London Eye is a cool view if you are in to that sort of thing. I personally loved the Tower Bridge at night. So pretty. The area around the tower is cute and seeing the crown jewels in the Tower of London was pretty cool. They also have ghost tours as well but not sure if it is a daily thing. The underground is very easy to use so you can get a lot done in one day. Map out things to do each day using the underground so you can go from place to place with ease. If you like Harry Potter, they have a few tourist spots from the movie around different tube stations that are fun pictures to take. Buckingham Palace, seeing the guards, etc was cool to see. Seeing Big Ben and Parliament, etc. The buildings there are unreal--so much beauty and detail, everywhere you went was awesome to walk and explore. If you have time, Windsor is a great place to explore. You can tour the castle and the town itself is so cute. and oh! The museums are FREE! Edit: I really did type this with paragraphs!
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  • The day she died, my mother mentioned how much she loved the tour at the Tower of London.  I escorted her to London 9 years ago.  She had dreamed of going all her life.
    I liked the hop-on, hop off red bus tour to get my bearings. You could buy a combination ticket that included a cruise down the Thames (Mom loved it!) and the Tower tour.
    I think my favorite was the British Museum.  I'm a history buff.  A great way to experience St. Paul's is to attend Sunday services.  Both my kids (then 20 somethings) cried when they sang "Jerusalem".  They also rang a full bell peal, and my son was thrilled.
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  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Thank you so much for all the suggestions. I am making my H read this thread so we can map out our days. I wish we had more than 4 days!
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  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    No problem, feel free to message me if you have any logistics or neighbourhood questions :)

    Enjoy your time over here in Blighty.
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