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DRedmond

Is This Possible to do in 3 Days in London?

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Posted (edited)

We have three days in London (July 30 - August 2).  Arriving at Heathrow at 9am Tuesday and leaving for Southampton 9:50 am on Friday. Staying at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.  I have an itinerary I put together researching various sites.  We have a London Pass as well as Oyster Card  I am starting to wonder if we can hit all of these sites or if it is overly ambitious.  Highlighted items are places we would definitely like to tour/enter.  Do we get to skip the lines with the London Pass?  Is this itinerary at all possible?

Day 1

Walking Tour begins on Westminster Bridge

Views of House of Parliament, Thames River and Big Ben

Statue of Boadicea

Parliament Square and House of Parliament

Statues of famous people (ie Churchill)

Jewel Tower (LP)House of Parliament

Westminster Abbey and Tour (LP)

Backtrack to Great George Street/Birdcage Walk and go right on Horse Guards Road to the Churchill War Rooms (at approx Horse Guard Rd and King Charles Street)

Churchill War Rooms (LP)

Exit Churchill War Rooms and continue up Horse Guards Road to Downing Street.  Go right on Downing Street and walk by 10 Downing Street (Prime Minister Residence)

Continue down Downing Street to Whitelhall Road Left on Whitehall Road

Whitehall Road

Banqueting Hall (LP)

Household Calvary Museum (LP)

Continue down Whitehall past Site of Old Scottland Yards (nearby is Sherlock Holmes Pub)

Trafalgar Square (go to it)

National Gallery (free)

National Portrait Gallery (free)

St. Martin in the Fields

Consider continue on to Picadilly Circus or to Covent Garden

Tube back to Park Place Westminster Bridge

London Eye early evening

 

Day 2

Hop on Hop Off Bus ??

St James Park

Guards Museum (LP)

St. James Palace (walk by)

Buckingham Palace

Changing of the Guards (11:00)

Tour of State Rooms.. Don't know if there's time

Royal Mews (LP) Don't Know if there's time

Queens Gallery (LP) Don't know if there's time

Kensington Gardens (free walk)

Kensington Palace (LP)

Hyde Park (walk through)

Royal Albert Hall (LP)

Back on HOHO?

Can get off at Kings Cross

Back on HOHO?

Covent Garden Plazza (if didn’t do Day 1)

British Museum (Free)

British Library (Free)

St. Pauls Cathedral (LP)

 

Day 3

Thames Hop on Hop Off Boat

Hop Off at Tower Bridge

Tower of London (LP)

Crown Jewel, White Tower,Tower Green,Beefeaters Tour (Yeoman Warders)

       (Not sure if we can do all... which to pick?)

Sky Garden or skip and tube to St. Pauls if missed earlier)

Shakespeares Globe Theatre (across Millennium Bridge)

Borough Market (walk through)

London Bridge

London Bridge Experience (LP)

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge Exhibition (LP)

The Shard

View from the Shard (LP) if not done yet)

 

Is doing all of this in three days possible?  If not which are skipable and which are musts?  Of course I'd like to throw in a couple of pubs here or there too.  Any recommendations of pubs in these areas or near the Park Plaza at Westminster Bridge? 

 

 

 

Edited by DRedmond

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, DRedmond said:

 

Exit Churchill War Rooms and continue up Horse Guards Road to Downing Street.  Go right on Downing Street and walk by 10 Downing Street (Prime Minister Residence)

Continue down Downing Street to Whitelhall Road Left on Whitehall Road

 

 

I don’t know where you are getting these directions from, but this has not been possible for many years. Downing Street is blocked at both ends and is one of the most heavily guarded places in London.

 

And to be accurate, it’s just Whitehall, not Whitehall Road. You should go through King Charles Street to get to Whitehall from the War Rooms. The Sherlock Holmes is a way off Whitehall, but there are plenty of pubs in Whitehall itself, such as the Old Shades or the Clarence. 

 

Your post illustrates my reservations about the London Pass - it encourages people to try to ‘bag’ as many places as possible. I was exhausted just reading your itinerary! 

 

The first day, you say you arrive at LHR at 9 am. Realistically, then, you are not going to start your walking tour until lunchtime. You have included three ‘must see’ tours, which would probably take 90 minutes each, plus quite a lot of walking and sightseeing. That’s an awful lot for one afternoon, when you may be tired off a long flight. 

 

Ultimately only you you can say what really matters to you and if you want to fly through so many places or take more time. 

Edited by Cotswold Eagle

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As The Eagle says, your proposed itinerary looks more like a challenge for the super-fit than for a jet-lagged tourist. Even whittling it down to the highlighted places would be exhausting. I really think that you will have to rethink this.

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1 hour ago, Bob++ said:

As The Eagle says, your proposed itinerary looks more like a challenge for the super-fit than for a jet-lagged tourist. Even whittling it down to the highlighted places would be exhausting. I really think that you will have to rethink this.

 

OP: I had the same reaction. I was exhausted just reading Day 1.  And Cotswold Eagle is of course correct, with a flight not arriving at LHR until 9am, you will lose most of your morning.

 

Is your objective just to check things off a list?  How much time, for example, do you allocate in your itinerary for inside visits? E.g., how much time do you intend to spend in the British Museum; what do you plan to see there? 

 

For some perspective: During our our most recent visit to London, last fall, we spent the morning of our first day (we arrived the night before) inside Westminster Abbey  (took a fabulous Verger Tour and also visited the Diamond Jubilee Galleries), had lunch, and then spent several hours in the afternoon seeing the Churchill War Rooms.  It was a fantastic day.  Could we have spent less time in either place?  Of course.  Would we have had as great a day?  No.  YMMV.

 

It is true that we have been to London before, allowing us more concentrated time in the places we visited, but your itinerary is still daunting. Only you can decide what matters to you and what your goal is in visiting the places you would like to visit.  

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One big negative......

 

Yes, the itinerary is way too heavy, especially the half-day on Day One - and that afternoon & evening you'll feel the effects of jet-lag too.  For every place you've listed as "Don't know if there's time" -  there' won't be. Same for some of the other inside visits.

But your hotel is very well-placed, so (other than any pre-purchased commitments) you can chop and change plans throughout  your stay according to time & mood.

 

And a few pointers......

 

Consider moving the ho-ho tickets up to the afternoon of Day One. The tickets are 24 / 48 hours (not one day / two days) so  they - and the included river cruise between the London Eye (or Embankment on the Big Ben side of the river) and the Tower of London - would be valid until early afternoon of Day 2 (24 hrs) or Day 3 (48 hrs).

A complete tour on one of the major routes lasts about 2.5 hrs, you can relax after your travel, you'll see most of the places you've mentioned, and it'll orientate you for the rest of your visit.

There's just one major place you won't see from the ho-ho - buses aren't permitted past the front of Buckingham Palace (Constitution Hill & The Mall). So you have to get off the ho-ho around the corner from Buck Palace at the junct. of Buckingham Gate & Birdcage Walk, walk to the front, then walk back to the stop & catch the next ho-ho. Or, especially if you have a good seat on the ho-ho, incorporate Buckingham Palace in your walking route, though it'd add about 25 minutes walking.

 

As other posts, Downing Street is off-limits. So from Churchill's War Rooms go to Whitehall & walk up Whitehall (Downing Street on your left). You can access Horse Guards Museum from Whitehall, but  I don't know if you can access Horse Guards Parade - if not, when you get to Trafalgar Square go left & thro' Admirality Arch onto The Mall.

Dining in London is expensive, so consider a spot of lunch at The Lord Moon of the Mall, on Whitehall just after the Horse Guards Museum. Pretty average food, but excellent value -  it's in the Wetherspoon's national chain of pubs and prices aren't jacked-up because it's in central London 

 

The ho-ho is a great way to get an over-view. But in most cases using it as transport to get from A to B will waste a great deal of your time - waiting for a bus, traffic, convoluted route, intermediate stops. So don't be too keen to get best value out of your ho-ho tickets. Including getting a 24 hr ticket, no 48 hrs.

The way to get from A to B is the tube, using your Oyster Card. OK, the views from the tube train aren't great :classic_biggrin:, but you can cross from one end of central London to the other in just a few minutes.

Here's a tube map

http://content.tfl.gov.uk/standard-tube-map.pdf

Don't bother to print it off - it's on every tourist map, at tube stations, on tube trains, etc

Use your tourist map, not the tube map, to find the tube station closest to your location and the one closest to your destination (most sights mention the closest tube stations on their literature & websites).

Then use the tube map to figure your underground route to your destination. 

It takes a little getting used to because London's tube system is extensive, but you'll quickly get the hang of it.

 

Advice from everywhere is to visit the Tower of London at opening time, esp if you want to see the Crown Jewels.

 

Haven't been to the top of the Shard - but I do wonder whether that replicates the view from the London Eye.

 

You haven't listed Covent Garden as a must-see.

A very pleasant place to wander, eat & drink.

And right by the theatres etc of The Strand.

Mebbe consider it as a place for lunchtime relaxation or an evening meal. (Mainly rip-off prices, service charges, etc, but I'm afraid you'll have to get used to that in central London :classic_sad:)

 

You'd need several more days to get in everything on your list.

But look on the bright side. You've got 2.5 days, most allow themselves less.

And some make it a day-trip from a Southampton port-of-call  !!!

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

 

 

 

 

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Unless you are planning on waving as you run by all of these places, this isn't even close to doable.  On top of that, you're pinging around London like a pinball.  I'd suggest you cut half of this off the schedule, do things in a logical order, and actually enjoy yourselves.

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I so agree with everyone else. We have visited London many many times as visitors over the past 48 years -- I grew up in the UK and moved to the US in 1971. 

JB's suggestion of the HoHo on day one is great as you will see an overview of the city from above ground. Have dinner in a pub and probably an early night -- do not discount the affects of jet lag. Next morning a good "full English breakfast" then take advantage of the river cruise part of the HoHo on the next morning. In the afternoon select one major place to visit and look at timing of inside tours --you can then be strategic about what else you do with your time. Enjoy another pub dinner and walk along the Embankment. Same on day three -- be focused and select what is really important to you. Most of all take your time and enjoy. 

We enjoy eating a light lunch/snack in museums and art galleries so look for things like that in your research. 

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Here's what we did in our 3 full days in London. I also agree that your itinerary sounds a bit heavy. You're relying on everything to go super smooth and have no delays or traffic. Our first day was our busiest for sure, and we saw several of the places you have mentioned. But it was a LOT!

 

Just scroll down in my post a bit, the first part is our overnight stay on the coast in Tintagel.
 

 

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Jet lag hits everyone differently.  I have found that I need a 30 minute power nap at some point in the afternoon of arrival, and I'll be fine through 10:00 pm or so.  Most will tell you never to nap and instead to go to bed early.  

 

Some have a terrible time of it on the second day, that's usually a very chipper day for me with a lot of energy.  Early evening on day two is where my husband gets the brunt of jet lag.

 

Jet lag hits me the hardest mid-afternoon on the third day.  I know this, so I plan accordingly. For others, they are fully on their game by then.  

 

Bottom line, you just have to figure out how your body will respond, and if you don't know, keep your plans loose enough that you can change on the fly if you need to.

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2 hours ago, Alaskanb said:


JB's suggestion of the HoHo on day one is great as you will see an overview of the city from above ground. Have dinner in a pub and probably an early night -- do not discount the affects of jet lag. Next morning a good "full English breakfast" then take advantage of the river cruise part of the HoHo on the next morning. 

 

 If I could suggest a little change to that..............

the river cruise is quite short & runs between Westminster Bridge / the London Eye (close to the OPs hotel) and the Tower of London.

So, on Day Two if the river cruises start early enough to get to the Tower before the crowds, use it. But if it's not early enough, use it to get back to Westminster Bridge area after visiting the Tower. Mebbe then take that Big Ben / Whitehall walking route?

 

JB :classic_smile:

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6 hours ago, John Bull said:

As other posts, Downing Street is off-limits. So from Churchill's War Rooms go to Whitehall & walk up Whitehall (Downing Street on your left). You can access Horse Guards Museum from Whitehall, but  I don't know if you can access Horse Guards Parade - if not, when you get to Trafalgar Square go left & thro' Admirality Arch onto The Mall.

 

 

Remarkably, perhaps, you can still walk through Horseguards to the parade ground (and therefore the museum), unless there’s an event on or they are changing the Guard. 

 

OP - when you see a crowd having photos taken next to two fellas on horses, aim between them and walk through the arch. 

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12 hours ago, DRedmond said:

We have three days in London (July 30 - August 2).  Arriving at Heathrow at 9am Tuesday and leaving for Southampton 9:50 am on Friday. Staying at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.  I have an itinerary I put together researching various sites.  We have a London Pass as well as Oyster Card  I am starting to wonder if we can hit all of these sites or if it is overly ambitious.  Highlighted items are places we would definitely like to tour/enter.  Do we get to skip the lines with the London Pass?  Is this itinerary at all possible?

 

Day 1  Is this actually the day you're landing at Heathrow?  (An overnight flight from ORD?)  If so, this itinerary is well nigh impossible, as others have pointed out--unless you possess superhuman powers of recovery from jet lag.

 

Walking Tour begins on Westminster Bridge

Views of House of Parliament, Thames River and Big Ben

Statue of Boadicea

Parliament Square and House of Parliament

Statues of famous people (ie Churchill)

Jewel Tower (LP)House of Parliament

Westminster Abbey and Tour (LP)

Backtrack to Great George Street/Birdcage Walk and go right on Horse Guards Road to the Churchill War Rooms (at approx Horse Guard Rd and King Charles Street)

Churchill War Rooms (LP)

Exit Churchill War Rooms and continue up Horse Guards Road to Downing Street.  Go right on Downing Street and walk by 10 Downing Street (Prime Minister Residence)

Continue down Downing Street to Whitelhall Road Left on Whitehall Road

Whitehall Road

Banqueting Hall (LP)

Household Calvary Museum (LP)

Continue down Whitehall past Site of Old Scottland Yards (nearby is Sherlock Holmes Pub)

Trafalgar Square (go to it)

National Gallery (free)

National Portrait Gallery (free)

St. Martin in the Fields

Consider continue on to Picadilly Circus or to Covent Garden

Tube back to Park Place Westminster Bridge

London Eye early evening

 

An ambitious itinerary, to say the least.  Of course most if not all of these places are worth visiting/ seeing, but not all on the same day if you are really going to do any of them justice.   Never mind sheer physical exhaustion--I would be suffering from sensory overload, especially if adding the National Gallery on top of everything else.😵

 

12 hours ago, DRedmond said:

 

 

 

 

12 hours ago, DRedmond said:

Day 2

Hop on Hop Off Bus ??

St James Park

Guards Museum (LP)

St. James Palace (walk by)

Buckingham Palace

Changing of the Guards (11:00)

Tour of State Rooms.. Don't know if there's time

Royal Mews (LP) Don't Know if there's time

Queens Gallery (LP) Don't know if there's time

Kensington Gardens (free walk)

Kensington Palace (LP)

Hyde Park (walk through)

Royal Albert Hall (LP)

Back on HOHO?

Can get off at Kings Cross

Back on HOHO?

Covent Garden Plazza (if didn’t do Day 1)

British Museum (Free)

British Library (Free)

St. Pauls Cathedral (LP)

 

Again, too much for one day, IMHO.  The British Museum alone, like the National Gallery as proposed for day 1, could easily keep you occupied for the better part of a day--indeed, for longer than that.

 

St James Park / Buck House/ Changing of the Guard make a sensible grouping for the morning, but there just isn't enough time to then dash off to Hyde Park & the RAH, then hit the British Museum, and finally wind up at St Paul's Cathedral!   (Hyde Park/RAH, the BM, and St. Paul's are in three different areas of London, a considerable distance apart from one another.  St. Paul's makes more sense if incorporated into your day 3 itinerary.)

 

 

12 hours ago, DRedmond said:

Day 3

Thames Hop on Hop Off Boat

Hop Off at Tower Bridge

Tower of London (LP)

Crown Jewel, White Tower,Tower Green,Beefeaters Tour (Yeoman Warders)

       (Not sure if we can do all... which to pick?)

Sky Garden or skip and tube to St. Pauls if missed earlier)

Shakespeares Globe Theatre (across Millennium Bridge)

Borough Market (walk through)

London Bridge Why??? London Bridge is a nondescript concrete bridge built in the 1970s.

London Bridge Experience (LP) Huh? (I think you mean the "Tower Bridge Experience." A tourist trap. Skip it.)

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge Exhibition (LP) I think this and what you call the "London Bridge Experience" are one and the same.

The Shard

View from the Shard (LP) if not done yet)

 

 

Is doing all of this in three days possible?  If not which are skipable and which are musts?  Of course I'd like to throw in a couple of pubs here or there too.  Any recommendations of pubs in these areas or near the Park Plaza at Westminster Bridge? 

 

 

 

 

I concur with the general advice already given by most of the other posters here.  I would just add, as an aside, that while a HOHO bus tour can give you a basic introduction to/ overview of London, you should not rely on it as a mode of transportation.

 

Frankly, "must-see" is a term that doesn't mean anything to me.  You "must see" only what you, personally, feel you "must see."  In dozens of visits to London (in addition to extended periods of residence) over more than 50 years, there are still "sights" (and "sites") I haven't seen; there are also specific places that I frequently revisit that probably wouldn't much interest the majority of tourists.  In other words, my number one piece of advice would be not to think that you can or should try to "See it all."  You can't.  Instead, select a core handful of places that you really want to see, and spend time at those places getting to know them, rather than making a long list and checking off as many items as you can.  You'll thank me later.😉     

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7 minutes ago, Cotswold Eagle said:

 

Remarkably, perhaps, you can still walk through Horseguards to the parade ground (and therefore the museum), unless there’s an event on or they are changing the Guard. 

 

OP - when you see a crowd having photos taken next to two fellas on horses, aim between them and walk through the arch. 

 

 

Thanks for that clarification, my feathered friend.

 

Meanwhile I'be taken your name in vain on another thread.:classic_tongue:.  Titled Southampton to Bath, it's now strayed into the Cotswolds, where your expertise is far greater than mine.

Care to wander over there & add your four-penn'orth?

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2672139-southampton-to-bath/

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Post Captain said:

Huh? (I think you mean the "Tower Bridge Experience." A tourist trap. Skip it.)

Tower Bridge

 Tower Bridge Exhibition (LP) I think this and what you call the "London Bridge Experience" are one and the same.

 

 

No, two different things. The London Bridge Experience is in Tooley Street and goes under London Bridge. It has costumed actors interpreting London ‘history’ etc.

 

I have never been, but often wonder if it tried to fill the gap left when the better known London Dungeons attraction had to close at London Bridge when they redeveloped the station. 

Edited by Cotswold Eagle

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7 minutes ago, Cotswold Eagle said:

 

No, two different things. The London Bridge Experience is in Tooley Street and goes under London Bridge. It has costumed actors interpreting London ‘history’ etc.

 

I have never been, but often wonder if it tried to fill the gap left when the better known London Dungeons attraction had to close at London Bridge when they redeveloped the station. 

 

Thanks.  That makes the "London Bridge Experience" sound even more of a tourist trap than I thought it was. 😁

 

I have no personal experience of those bridge "Experiences".  On the other hand, I'm thinking of marketing my three favorite bridge experiences: "the Blackfriars Bridge Experience"😉 (coming & going via train and the tube), "the Waterloo Bridge Experience"😉 (the number 59 bus to/from Waterloo Station), and "the Charing Cross Bridge Experience" (walking across the bridge between the Embankment Station and the RFH--wonderful views, especially at night, post concert.)

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Post Captain said:

 

Thanks.  That makes the "London Bridge Experience" sound even more of a tourist trap than I thought it was. 😁

 

I have no personal experience of those bridge "Experiences".  On the other hand, I'm thinking of marketing my three favorite bridge experiences: "the Blackfriars Bridge Experience"😉 (coming & going via train and the tube), "the Waterloo Bridge Experience"😉 (the number 59 bus to/from Waterloo Station), and "the Charing Cross Bridge Experience" (walking across the bridge between the Embankment Station and the RFH--wonderful views, especially at night, post concert.)

 

That’s all well and good, but by law you will have to wear a ludicrous and preferably historically inaccurate costume 😉 

 

The Tower Bridge thing isn’t that bad, in my opinion, if you like bridges and engines and stuff. And the glass walkway is quite cool. 

Edited by Cotswold Eagle

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Posted (edited)

Add me to the list of people who are exhausted just looking at that list! If you have not already purchased the London Pass, I would reevaluate it. Make a more realistic list and figure out if it will really save you money. I decided it wouldn't when I evaluated for our trip.

 

I can speak to a few specific items you have listed.

 

Westminster Abbey - the London Pass allows you to skip the ticket-purchase line, but not the entry line. The entry line gets long, fast. If you don't already have the LP, you can purchase tickets on the Abbey website. You get a discount and they allow you to skip the entry line. You enter the Abbey right after security. We had Abbey tickets for 9:30 and Queen's Jubilee Gallery tickets for 10:45. We could have used at least 15 more minutes in the Abbey; I didn't get to look around Poet's Corner as much as I would have liked. There's an audio guide and of course you can skip parts, but I'd plan a minimum of 1 hour.

 

Buckingham Palace - we did the full Royal Day Out ticket, which includes the Queen's Gallery and the Royal Mews. We had the earliest entry time for the Royal Mews, at 9:30. We left the Palace sometime between 2:30-3:00. Your entry to the Queen's Gallery and the Palace are timed; you can do the Royal Mews between those two, or after. 

 

Kensington Palace - we got there just before opening time, and there was no line to speak of for ticket purchases. We had a Historic Royal Palaces membership, so we got straight in the entry line. We were about 15th in line. It was not crowded and we got through the whole thing in about 2 hours. I am a pretty detailed museum-goer, and read as much information as I can. It's probably possible to do it faster. We were also there when the exhibit of Princess Diana's dresses was on, and I spent a good 45 minutes or so in that. I'm not sure what their special exhibition is now.

 

Tower of London - we got there around noon, and skipped purchasing tickets with our Historic Royal Palaces membership (but there wasn't really a line at that point anyway). We did have to wait in line for 20-30 minutes to enter. We were probably there for 4 hours, including walking all around the battlements and looking at the exhibits on the way, waiting in line to see the Crown Jewels, and touring the Fusiller's Museum. We did not go up in the White Tower; I'd had knee surgery about 5 months prior and did not think I could handle all those stairs. 

 

We were there for 9 days and while we saw quite a lot, we still didn't see everything on our "must see" list. In order to accomplish that, I'm going to need to win the lottery and go live there for a year (or in two 6-month stints to avoid visa problems). And that's just for London. Don't get me started on the rest of the UK.

 

Here is my very long trip report, but at the start I list out what we did each day which can maybe give you some ideas on grouping things. 

 

Edited by cft8

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I really hate to pile on here, but no, that's not doable if you intend to see anything. And you haven't allowed any time to experience London. The National Gallery is a half day, pretty much minimum. Trying to see the British Museum in an afternoon is like saying you're going to see the Smithsonian. All of them.

 

I'm not a HOHO fan, but it makes sense for you to see an overview of London. You have a number of things on your list that are simply outdoor visits, and those that are in Westminster, Trafalgar Square, etc., are close to your hotel, and the sun will be out quite late in the evening. 

 

Please take a closer look at what you really want to do. And PLEASE allow time to experience the city. They're harder to find, but there are traditional pubs. Grab a pint and relax. Go to Chinatown or have the (somewhat cliche, I know) Indian food. There's far too much to see and do in one visit (I've probably been 15 times of various lengths over the last 20 or so years, and don't pretend to have seen all of the city).

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Thanks everyone for your advice, tips and even admonitions!  I get it... way too much and I need to pair it down. I did have misgivings and that's why I posted.  Hopefully this is more doable:

Day 1: HOHO Bus getting off at Buckingham Palace to walk around and getting off again at Traflager Square to check it out and hopefully find a nearby pub.  London Eye in the evening if I am not dead!

Day 2: Westminster Area Walking Tour: Visit in Westiminster Abbey, Possible visit in Churchill War Rooms and/or National Gallery  and continue walk to Covent Gardens  (Tube back to Park Plaza WB)

Day 3: Tube at 8:30 to be at Tower of London by 9am. Crown Jewels and Beefeaters Tour. St. Paul's Cathedral.  Possible Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and/or View from The Shard and/or Burough Market  Boat ride down the Thames to get back to Park Plaza WB

I did cut out most of the Museums since I have the London Pass this trip... so I guess I will have to go back to London in the near future to hit the Museums and other things I missed!

Does this itinerary seem more doable or do I have to cut back more?

Thanks again for all of your collective sage advice!  It is appreciated.

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56 minutes ago, DRedmond said:

Thanks everyone for your advice, tips and even admonitions!  I get it... way too much and I need to pair it down. I did have misgivings and that's why I posted.  Hopefully this is more doable:

Day 1: HOHO Bus getting off at Buckingham Palace to walk around and getting off again at Traflager Square to check it out and hopefully find a nearby pub.  London Eye in the evening if I am not dead!

Day 2: Westminster Area Walking Tour: Visit in Westiminster Abbey, Possible visit in Churchill War Rooms and/or National Gallery  and continue walk to Covent Gardens  (Tube back to Park Plaza WB)

Day 3: Tube at 8:30 to be at Tower of London by 9am. Crown Jewels and Beefeaters Tour. St. Paul's Cathedral.  Possible Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and/or View from The Shard and/or Burough Market  Boat ride down the Thames to get back to Park Plaza WB

I did cut out most of the Museums since I have the London Pass this trip... so I guess I will have to go back to London in the near future to hit the Museums and other things I missed!

Does this itinerary seem more doable or do I have to cut back more?

Thanks again for all of your collective sage advice!  It is appreciated.

 

So, for Day 1, you can do more than that. If you read my review, you'll see what we did, and we went to almost all the things you have listed. We walked everywhere even, never taking the HOHO bus or the tube. And we saw Buckingham Palace, part of the guard ceremony, the horse guard museum (drawing a blank on the proper name), walked by 10 Downing, lunch at a pub, Westminster Abbey, Churchill War Rooms, the London Eye, and dinner, before walking all the way back through Trafalgar and Piccadilly.

 

Although now I remember, I think, that you're coming in that morning and will hit the group running. In that case, you may want to cut things back on the first day and do more on the second then. We had already done our cruise before our 4 days in London. But honestly, we did a lot of the things you're asking about, so read my trip report.


We used the HOHO bus one day to get from the British Museum to St. Paul's and it's not the best way to get around. The tube was much better, way faster and smoother. Traffic in London is very heavy, way worse than Chicago (as I see you're from there).

 

Oh and yes, definitely be at ToL a little bit before it opens and go right to the Crown Jewels.

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7 minutes ago, kctwinmommy said:

 

So, for Day 1, you can do more than that. If you read my review, you'll see what we did, and we went to almost all the things you have listed. We walked everywhere even, never taking the HOHO bus or the tube. And we saw Buckingham Palace, part of the guard ceremony, the horse guard museum (drawing a blank on the proper name), walked by 10 Downing, lunch at a pub, Westminster Abbey, Churchill War Rooms, the London Eye, and dinner, before walking all the way back through Trafalgar and Piccadilly.

 

Although now I remember, I think, that you're coming in that morning and will hit the group running. In that case, you may want to cut things back on the first day and do more on the second then. We had already done our cruise before our 4 days in London. But honestly, we did a lot of the things you're asking about, so read my trip report.


We used the HOHO bus one day to get from the British Museum to St. Paul's and it's not the best way to get around. The tube was much better, way faster and smoother. Traffic in London is very heavy, way worse than Chicago (as I see you're from there).

 

Oh and yes, definitely be at ToL a little bit before it opens and go right to the Crown Jewels.

I did read your review.  It was quite helpful, thank you! Yes, Day 1 is essentially a travel half day so I tried to cut it back to make it more manageable.  Thanks also for the comparison of traffic between London and Chicago, that definitely help put it in perspective for me.  Of course none of this is set in stone, I am just trying to get a grasp on timing, groupings etc.   

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That sounds much better! If you plan to go in Westminster Abbey using the London Pass admission, I’d get there just before it opens. The entry line was long when we went in at 9:30 and even longer when we came out around noon. 

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6 hours ago, DRedmond said:

 

Day 1: HOHO Bus getting off at Buckingham Palace to walk around and getting off again at Traflager Square to check it out and hopefully find a nearby pub.  

 

 

I already mentioned a couple of pubs in Whitehall and JB added the Lord Moon of the Mall. For T Square itself, you could consider the Admiralty in Cockspur Street (effectively on the square), which is part of the popular Fullers Ale and Pie chain, a step up from the Lord Moon in my opinion. Or the Chandos, at the bottom of St Martins Lane, just off the square. 

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Our last London visit was between Christmas and New Year when it is quieter than the summer .  We wanted to see the Hockney window in Westminster Abbey, but the queue to get in was over an hour.

 

The best way to play it is to have one main sight to see a day and if you have time try and do another, but don't have a must see tick list as you will be disappointed.

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9 hours ago, DRedmond said:

Thanks everyone for your advice, tips and even admonitions!  I get it... way too much and I need to pair it down. I did have misgivings and that's why I posted.  Hopefully this is more doable:

Day 1: HOHO Bus getting off at Buckingham Palace to walk around and getting off again at Traflager Square to check it out and hopefully find a nearby pub.  London Eye in the evening if I am not dead!

Day 2: Westminster Area Walking Tour: Visit in Westiminster Abbey, Possible visit in Churchill War Rooms and/or National Gallery  and continue walk to Covent Gardens  (Tube back to Park Plaza WB)

Day 3: Tube at 8:30 to be at Tower of London by 9am. Crown Jewels and Beefeaters Tour. St. Paul's Cathedral.  Possible Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and/or View from The Shard and/or Burough Market  Boat ride down the Thames to get back to Park Plaza WB

I did cut out most of the Museums since I have the London Pass this trip... so I guess I will have to go back to London in the near future to hit the Museums and other things I missed!

Does this itinerary seem more doable or do I have to cut back more?

Thanks again for all of your collective sage advice!  It is appreciated.

 

Day One. You're already aware that Cindy's Day One started at her central London hotel, whereas yours starts somewhere in the skies above - so this is a pretty sensible schedule. 

From leaving the ho-ho at Trafalgar Square, if up to it you can walk down Whitehall ( former Scotland Yard, Horse Guards, Banqueting Hall, Cenotaph, Downing Street etc) to Parliament Square (Westminster Abbey, statuary, Houses of Parliament & Big Ben) and across Westminster Bridge to your hotel. About a mile, 20 minutes walking though you'll take longer as you stop at the sights, which come thick & fast. Depending on time & energy, mebbe an inside visit somewhere en route.

Not sure that this is the right day to end it off with the London Eye, see how it goes.

 

Day Two looks very do-able, especially if you managed to go inside the War Rooms or Nat Gallery on Day One.

Covent Garden is a little out-on-a-limb, but you've put it at the end & not a big deal if you don't make it.

 

Day Three starts well. From the Tower, consider a 15 min walk to the Monument (Great Fire of London) then about the same (or direct tube ride) to St Paul's. From St Paul's walk down Peter's Hill (a pedestrian lane) & cross the Thames over the pedestrian Millennium Bridge to Tate Modern gallery (IMHO truly ugly) and Shakespeare's Globe theatre (much more attractive)

But St Paul's or the Globe or Borough Market or the Shard don't fit in with the Tower-to-London Eye river cruise - mebbe try to fit this in somewhere near the end of Day One or Two, even if it means staying on the boat & doing the round-trip.

 

A shame not to be able to fit in any museums, but see how it goes. 

This Plan B needs a little fine-tuning, either before and/or more likely according to how things go, but it's an altogether much better plan than your first attempt.

 

Day Four.

How are you getting to Southampton?

Since your hotel is close to Waterloo station, a direct train seems to be the obvious choice.

Cheap advance fares for your date are now showing :classic_smile:-

But no cheap advance fares for the 09.50 train that you're considering. :classic_sad:

Full walk-up fare (eg for the 09.50) is £44

But advance tickets are available at £12.10 for the 09.35, or £9.00 for the 09.39, or a selection of other trains at various low advance-ticket prices.

These are all direct trains to Southampton central, journey times vary by about 10 - 15 minutes cos some have more intermediate stops than others.

Cheap advance tickets are only good for the train time that you book - miss that train & you'll have to pay £44 for walk-up tickets for the next one but the savings are well-worth that tiny risk.

http://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/service/timesandfares/

Your start point is London Waterloo, your destination is Southampton central.

 

JB :classic_smile:

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