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SarahD112

Advice for days in London, where to stay, visiting Windsor on the way to ship and more!

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Sorry to but in 😁  We are going the same time.  After a lot of research  Decided to stay in Kensington area as I think it is Gloucester station area looks really convenient with variety of places to eat. And some of the places I want to visit are nearby
 

Tanyaewa= I have been looking at tours by locals and thinking of using some of theirs.  I did book where they pick us up at airport and directly give us a 4 hour tour. 
 

see ya on the ship!  Too bad our plans don’t coincide or we could share tours.
 

2 hours ago, bennybear said:


Happy to help.  What specifics do you Need? 

 = Was the cab fare reasonable. ? I thought a tour bus with tickets included would be less.

the train didn’t look too hard .  But I am going for less hassle  the better vacation 

=what Southampton transportation did you use?

=Any thoughts on do not miss or skip it on  St Paul’s, Westminster, Tower of London, Churchill War room Or Windsor. I need to cut some out and all but war room seem time consuming. With long lines

 

would appreciate any info you would share

 

 

 

 

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The more the merrier! I have a lot of the same questions. I had thought the kids would like to see a Castle, hence the idea to go to Windsor, but now I’m thinking something like Hampton Court Palace might be just as good - and easier. 
 

I have questions about the London Pass. We only have a few days, so I’m ok spending more for convenience. It seems like it would save time standing in line to buy tickets - or convenience, not having to buy individual tickets ahead of time for every different thing we want to do. Is the river cruise that comes with it good? Something said there’s a 30 minute version - and a three hour version, but I can’t find out anything more about it than that. Then there’s the hop on hop off part - multiple bus lines to choose from.

 

Next up...Oyster card. Order it ahead of time I understand. And there seems to be a maximum daily charge on the tube if you use it? So seems like a good idea?

 

I’ve made reservations for our pre cruise night at the Premier Inn London County Hall. Next up will be trying to decide where to stay on post cruise night. Might do same place - convenient to Waterloo Station where train to/from Southampton is. 

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Happy to help.  

Your first night you will be jet lagged so that is a good time to stay at the airport and visit Windsor.  I think it was only about 20 pounds to Windsor from Heathrow by cab.  We took a bus back easily for a few pounds each.  The bus station for National Express is right at Heathrow terminal 3.   

 

It it really depends on how much time you have.  For only one night I would do Heathrow and Windsor and the bus.  If you have longer than by all means visit London and go by rail. Their train system is great but make sure and buy train tickets well ahead as prices vary immensely and increase dramatically closer to departure.    

 

Re the Oyster cards if you have a credit card with a chip in it that you can tap and not bother with the Oyster. It works exactly the same, but each person needs their own card.   This way you don’t worry about individual fares and are only charged what you actually used but with a daily cap. Works great! 

 

The boats on the Thames also take the oyster or tap credit cards.  So a few stops say to the Tower of London would give you a feel for it.  We went all the way to Greenwich and enjoyed it but we have visited London many times and were there for a week last year. 

 

London cabs are also wonderful and very reasonable.  Don’t miss that experience.  We combined subways, buses, cabs, trains and boats.

 

We were extremely impressed by the Imperial War Museum.  Right across the street was a house where Captain Bligh had lived. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, monkeyinhat said:

Sorry to but in 😁  We are going the same time.  After a lot of research  Decided to stay in Kensington area as I think it is Gloucester station area looks really convenient with variety of places to eat. And some of the places I want to visit are nearby
 

Tanyaewa= I have been looking at tours by locals and thinking of using some of theirs.  I did book where they pick us up at airport and directly give us a 4 hour tour. 
 

see ya on the ship!  Too bad our plans don’t coincide or we could share tours.
 

 = Was the cab fare reasonable. ? I thought a tour bus with tickets included would be less.

the train didn’t look too hard .  But I am going for less hassle  the better vacation 

=what Southampton transportation did you use?

=Any thoughts on do not miss or skip it on  St Paul’s, Westminster, Tower of London, Churchill War room Or Windsor. I need to cut some out and all but war room seem time consuming. With long lines

 

would appreciate any info you would share

 

 

 

 

 

 

We've stayed in the Kensington area twice.  It’s great.  But beware the Gloucester station I recall some stairs.  The Earls court stop prior from Heathrow has elevators right to street level.  Don’t know if this matters, but could make a difference. 

 

How long do you have in London? Then I could help more. 

We took national express to Winchester,  didn’t go out of Southampton.  We were on a Med cruise last year and spent two weeks in England prior. 

Edited by bennybear

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Try hard to go to the theatre if you can.   Last minute tickets in Russell Square. Highly recommend Come from  Away! 

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3 hours ago, bennybear said:

Last minute tickets in Russell Square.


is it possible you mean the TKTS booth in Leicester, not Russell, Square?

 

And one of our regular reminders that the American habit of dropping the second half of place names can cause confusion here. In context, people will probably work out that references to Gloucester station in this thread are to Gloucester Road underground station, not the railway station in Gloucester, a town in the west of England, but I’d really recommend using the full name for practical reasons, not just because it grates on my British ears 🙂

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Sorry, you are right Leicester Square. 

 

Since I was asked about the Gloucester station in Kensington,  London it  was easily apparent to me what station they were referring to!  But hey, I’m Canadian and can understand American and British versions and spellings, but not pronunciation (Gloucester for example),  as well as Imperial and Metric 😉

 

 

 

Edited by bennybear

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" I want to do the river cruise, maybe hop on hop off, Tower of London, Westminster abbey, buckingham palace...should I stay in Westminster."

 

I think you need to seriously reconfigure your one day sightseeing.  The HOHO might be nice, but London traffic is horrendous, and you could be stuck in that traffic.  Tube gets you quickly from one place to another.  My choices, considering the ages of your kids would be Tower and Westminster Abbey.  There is an excellent verger tour of the Abbey, and of course the Yeoman Guards tours of the Tower.  Do NOT waste your time waiting for the changing of the guards at the Palace.  Agree with a previous recommendation of the London Eye (marvelous views of greater London), and walking/dining on the south bank.

 

Enjoy London; it is a marvelous place to visit!

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On 2/15/2020 at 9:49 PM, bennybear said:

 

 

We've stayed in the Kensington area twice.  It’s great.  But beware the Gloucester station I recall some stairs.  The Earls court stop prior from Heathrow has elevators right to street level.  Don’t know if this matters, but could make a difference. 

 

How long do you have in London? Then I could help more. 

We took national express to Winchester,  didn’t go out of Southampton.  We were on a Med cruise last year and spent two weeks in England prior. 

I have 2 days yet to plan.   Just trying to narrow down. Not a shopper so Harrod’s and  High Street shops to me is type of thing that haunts me in my sleep 😁.  

Have a overview tour planned. A a day planned in Kensington area.    The theater is on my list to research.  Plan on doing Sky Garden get drinks and dinner instead of London Eye.  Hubs not too keen on those.

 Wow, I can’t believe how reasonable cab fare is to Windsor. Especially compared to what companies want to charge in transportation.

Thanks for your suggestions.

 

On 2/16/2020 at 1:01 AM, Cotswold Eagle said:


is it possible you mean the TKTS booth in Leicester, not Russell, Square?

 

And one of our regular reminders that the American habit of dropping the second half of place names can cause confusion here. In context, people will probably work out that references to Gloucester station in this thread are to Gloucester Road underground station, not the railway station in Gloucester, a town in the west of England, but I’d really recommend using the full name for practical reasons, not just because it grates on my British ears 🙂

sorry to offend Cotswold Eagle. Going from memory.  Was reading and typing with a giant nine month old baby sleeping on my chest and reading glasses out of reach. I noticed you British are really touchy about that .   Will try to research before typing.

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Remember the cab fare was from Heathrow as it is quite close to Windsor .  You can also take a local bus.  It would be a lot more from London, but you could probably take the train.  

 

Any of the wonderful museums would be worth a visit,  The British Museum, The Tate Britain or Modern which is near the Eye.    The Victoria and Albert and Natural history museum are both nearby in Kensington,.  Also Kensington Palace has a display about Queen Victoria.  

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9 hours ago, monkeyinhat said:

I noticed you British are really touchy about that .

 

It's not touchiness. It's because if you don't use the full name of the street, you could go to the wrong place entirely. For example, just as there are many people called Peter, there are many streets called Hyde Park something. So if you just say "Hyde Park", you'll be as lost as if you just ask for someone called Peter.

 

A good friend who routinely does this nearly missed a dinner in his honour because he was on the wrong street and couldn't find the restaurant.

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On 2/15/2020 at 3:01 PM, bennybear said:

Happy to help.  What specifics do you Need? 

What Thames cruise did you take?  

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We used the regular  London transport from Waterloo to Greenwich and back.   Depends on how much time you have,  you could just go to the Tower of London.  You can use your oyster or tap credit card.  

Edited by bennybear

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Have narrowed what we want to do, now trying to separate it into before cruise and after. Can someone tell me if the Tower of London crowd will be appreciably less on Thursday, May 28th than on Saturday, June 6th? Weekday vs weekend, but both probably heavy tourist times anyway. Was thinking to do London original HOHO (because it’s 24 hours, not one day) and city cruise on Thursday/Friday before cruise and Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace and anything else we decide to do on the Saturday/Sunday after cruise. 
 

And completely randomly...does anyone know if Premier Inn London County Hall will hold suitcases before or after check in/out time? 
 

thanks. 

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I would expect the weekend to be busier at the Tower, but if you get there early, you're probably OK.

 

Do you just plan to visit Buckingham Palace? If so, you can play that by ear a bit. The only thing that would be time critical would be if you were trying to catch the changing of the guard. Ditto the Tower Bridge; you can see it, easily, and walk across easily, but there's a "Tower Bridge Experience" that's more in depth and time consuming. I don't know that it's worth your short time.

 

So the HOHO makes sense for an overview. You'll be on the South Bank next to the Eye, with Westminster Palace (Parliament) right across the bridge from you. There's a lot to see in the immediate area with a little wandering around, and it'll be light fairly late. For instance, you can pretty much walk past Westminster Abbey, etc., on the way to Buckingham Palace, unless you choose to make that a "hop off" stop on the HOHO, which would save you time on your first day.

 

Get to the Tower as early as you can on Saturday. Check the opening times and be there early. If you can see the jewels, wander through the White Tower, and wander the grounds a little bit first thing in the morning, you'll have seen what you came for in a couple of hours or so, and have a lot of day left.

 

I don't "know" if the Premier Inn will hold bags, but I've never had a hotel in London not...

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13 minutes ago, markeb said:

I would expect the weekend to be busier at the Tower, but if you get there early, you're probably OK.

 

Do you just plan to visit Buckingham Palace? If so, you can play that by ear a bit. The only thing that would be time critical would be if you were trying to catch the changing of the guard. Ditto the Tower Bridge; you can see it, easily, and walk across easily, but there's a "Tower Bridge Experience" that's more in depth and time consuming. I don't know that it's worth your short time.

 

So the HOHO makes sense for an overview. You'll be on the South Bank next to the Eye, with Westminster Palace (Parliament) right across the bridge from you. There's a lot to see in the immediate area with a little wandering around, and it'll be light fairly late. For instance, you can pretty much walk past Westminster Abbey, etc., on the way to Buckingham Palace, unless you choose to make that a "hop off" stop on the HOHO, which would save you time on your first day.

 

Get to the Tower as early as you can on Saturday. Check the opening times and be there early. If you can see the jewels, wander through the White Tower, and wander the grounds a little bit first thing in the morning, you'll have seen what you came for in a couple of hours or so, and have a lot of day left.

 

I don't "know" if the Premier Inn will hold bags, but I've never had a hotel in London not...

So we disembark in Southampton bright and early Saturday...so not expecting to get anything done in London until afternoon. One option may be to scrap Windsor on Sunday and do Tower first thing Sunday. Our flight doesn’t leave until 5pm. 
 

I’d love feedback on whether the Tower Bridge Experience is worth it. 

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Buckingham Palace is only open for a few weeks in the summer.  So you may want to check online and see if you can book a tour to see inside.   We did and really enjoyed it and the garden tour.  

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1 minute ago, bennybear said:

Buckingham Palace is only open for a few weeks in the summer.  So you may want to check online and see if you can book a tour to see inside.   We did and really enjoyed it and the garden tour.  

I don’t think it’s open until towards the end of July through early October. 

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Yeah, I'm thinking you're there on Saturday, but of course you're not. I know the Tower gets busier as the day goes on. When we went years ago, we were in London and just got there at 9:00 before the buses started arriving. That's not an option for you.

 

The Tower Bridge Experience was definitely interesting. We did it a LONG time ago, so things could have changed. You see the inner workings of the bridge, etc., but it does take time, which is something you're not going to have a lot of. It might not be the thing I'd take time on...

 

The Tower is worth the visit. You can probably Google average wait times to see the crown jewels, etc., and add that into your planning. Windsor, IMHO, is worth the time, but you are fitting a lot into your short visit. Just be flexible and try to adapt...

 

 

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19 minutes ago, SarahD112 said:

I’d love feedback on whether the Tower Bridge Experience is worth it. 

 

From what I recall, having done the "TBE" with a friend and her young son about 15 years ago, this "experience" is more or less geared for children.  Unless you have a particular interest in the design/engineering/mechanics of a neo-gothic Victorian drawbridge, I certainly wouldn't consider it a must-do.  

 

1 hour ago, SarahD112 said:

And completely randomly...does anyone know if Premier Inn London County Hall will hold suitcases before or after check in/out time? 

 

According to the page for the PI County Hall on the PI website, yes, they do offer luggage storage.  I believe it's offered by most if not all Premier Inns.  I have taken advantage of this service at another Premier Inn on at least one occasion.  (That particular PI had a fairly large storeroom just off the lobby; I suspect it will be much the same setup at County Hall.)

Edited by Post Captain

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On 2/18/2020 at 5:21 AM, Globaliser said:

 

It's not touchiness. 

We in Washington State understand. When asked where we live, everyone

assumes we mean Washington D.C. and that we sure have come a long way!

 

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Depending on your budget;

if you like your hotel not at high end scale of prices; I recommend the part around Bayswater / Paddington / Notting Hill.

The locations don't matter that much, because with the Subway you're very fast to every sight in London...

 

Harrods is just a big fancy departement store, with such a time limit I would personally skip that "sight"...instead go to "Camden Market", much niecer experience (if the weather is nice)

 

Many museums are free of charge (only some special exhibitions need tickets). I like the "Imperial War Museum"

another free museum I found last time is the "Museum of London". Then there is the amazing "Museum of Natural History" and the "Royal Portrait Gallery" and even the Tate Modern has many exhibition which are free (and there is also a viewing tower you can enter for free).

 

The problem with the Windsor Castle Visit is probably your luggage and that you can only do it on your way from London to the Ship...because it's "only" a train ride with one change from London away.

Maybe do some research; if they have a luggage storage at Windsor Railway Station, you might do it on your own and then "just" look for a transfer from Windsor to your ship...there is no need for a guided tour inside Windsor Castle...and just to give you something to think about, inside the building there is no photography allowed (it's after all still the living place of the Queen)

 

 

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