London "Must Do's"

Discussion in 'Adventures By Disney' started by sayhello, May 3, 2011.

  1. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Messages:
    10,925
    OK, so I'm getting to the point in my planning (for my 3 days in London pre-Knights & Lights end of August/start of September) that I have WAY too many options and things I want to do! It's making it really hard to start really making any arrangements, since I really want to do EVERYTHING! (I already have my hotel room, but that's about it!)

    I'm planning on spending one day at Hampton Court Palace (although I really have no idea if this is a couple of hours, or a half-day, or a full-day kind of thing). And I must go to St. Paul's cathedral, as we don't go inside of it as a part of the ABD.

    So give me your suggestions! Things that I *MUST DO* in London! And please give me details of *why* it's a Must Do! If it helps any, I will be staying near Waterloo station, so transportation shouldn't be a big issue.

    Thanks for any help you can give me!!!!

    Sayhello
     
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement


    to hide this advert.
  3. gray2402

    gray2402 Picture Snappin' Momma

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Messages:
    494
    We lived in England for three years (military) and some of my favs in London were:

    seeing a show on the West End!! I saw so many shows and all were amazing :) There is a little booth in Piccadilly Circle to get cheaper tickets so you could always pop by there one night to see what they have (we saw Sister Act this way, though all our other shows we had bought tickets ahead of time). We saw Wicked, Phantom, Mama Mia *twice*, Hairspray and Sister Act. All were great!

    We also did the London Zoo and that was a lot of fun! Oh and London Eye (the big ferris wheel thing)...

    The museums ... we went to a few though I cannot remember which ones, but it was neat.

    Also something we did that was SO fun ... we toured Buckingham Palace! In the summer when the queen is gone, they do tours of the palace and it was really interesting. Something I will never forget! Here is some info ... http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/default.asp?action=article&ID=30

    Have a great time!!!
     
  4. Gigi22

    Gigi22 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2009
    Messages:
    3,632
    Do visit the Tower--you will need about a half day there. There is a guided tour that is provided by the Beefeaters (they are in a Tudor-era uniform), and you get to see a lot of fascinating things including Henry VIII's armour, and the Crown Jewels on display. When we toured, to provide security for the jewels, we were warned not to take any pictures--to prove they meant it seriously, you could see a net just loaded with confiscated cameras taken from those who took pictures.
     
  5. ToddG

    ToddG Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Madame Tussaud's wax musuem is a must do, I know they are in a lot of cities now but the one in London is awesome. You'd swear some of the figures are going to start talking to you. Also I second Gray that the London Eye is well worth doing. Great panoramic views of the city and just an amazing experience. One other thing to do is be sure to have some of the fantastic English bacon for breakfast.
     
  6. pjacobi

    pjacobi DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2001
    Messages:
    841
    Start at:

    http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/destinations/britain/brit_menu.htm

    You'll also need to learn about the Oyster card, Heathrow Express, SIM cards, Real Ale, etc...

    I'm planning a 1-week family trip in July. I've already done lot's of reseach, including exchanging letter with the Tower of London for tickets to the Ceremony of the Keys.

    This will be my 4th trip to London. The last trip was in '97. This time we will be traveling with my daughter, 13.


    -Paul
     
  7. ClareH37

    ClareH37 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Messages:
    1,782
    I live just on the outskirts of London and work opposite Hampton Court Palace :thumbsup2 The Palace is beautiful, you can stay a couple of hours or make a day of it, there's glorious gardens too. There's some traditional pubs in Hampton Court if you fancy a pint of beer.

    In London itself definitely do the Tower of London (and Ceremony of the Keys if you're able to get tickets), it's really stunning, so much history. Another great thing to visit (and it's free) is Borough Market, it's foodie heaven but only opens on certain days to the public, details here. I really enjoy looking around Fortnum & Masons too and they serve a traditional afternoon tea (don't both with the Ritz, way too commercialised). For museums head to The British Museum, it is absolutely amazing, the mummies are the no. 1 attraction there ;)

    Covent Garden is very touristy and nice to look around but I would avoid the restaurants as they really do cash in on tourists.

    Westminster Abbey is lovely too.

    There's so much to see and do in London, have fun whatever you decide to do :goodvibes
     
  8. WeLoveABD

    WeLoveABD DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    727
    Hampton Court: we trained out there and back and saw most of it in about 6 hours--but you could spend more time there

    Tower: part of the ABD tour, as is Westminster Abbey

    Maybe try to get inside Parliament--I've never been able to get inside (I understand it is open every now and then)

    If you can swing a day away to see Bath and Stonehenge, definately worth it (Via Tours, I think, goes there--they have a few sunrise tours to Stonehenge too)

    Tate Modern is walkable from St. Paul's (across the new bridge)--but definately see the British Museum if able!
     
  9. flexsmom

    flexsmom <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/" targ

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2002
    Messages:
    1,949
    Don't know if it's part of the ABD itinerary, but the Churchill War Cabinet rooms were fascinating. My kids (12 & 8) were even very intrigued by that. We did the audio tour in about 90 minutes or so. It is right by Parliament & the Abbey.

    We also did Hampton Court palace and loved it.

    Another day trip we really enjoyed that isn't "mainstream" was Leeds Castle. It is a short train trip and taxi out there, and just beautiful. They have a super cool garden maze - my youngest found his way to the center in about 15 minutes and then had to vector in my DH & I. If he wasn't there helping from the "tower" in the middle, I think we'd still be there wandering in the hedges! They also did a falconry demonstration. Gorgeous grounds, and, being from Virginia, we were interested to learn about the ties between Leeds & various cities/counties here in the VA/MD area - Culpeper and Faixfax County!
     
  10. blondietink

    blondietink DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,772
    All of the above suggestions are fantastic. London is really a place you cannot do in a day or two, but need more like 2 or 3 weeks to get it all in. Anyway, one thing I have not seen mentioned is that if you are a history buff at all, then I would suggest a trip to the Imperial War Museum. I believe if you get there after 4 pm(?) you can get in for half price.
     
  11. tracyz

    tracyz Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    Messages:
    332
    Wow, this thread is making me think Knights & Lights is high on my list of things to do! Have a fantastic time, sayhello!!:cool1:
     
  12. kristilew

    kristilew DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    1,922
    When we did Hampton Court, we were there about 6 hours, including lunch. This was plenty of time to see everything inside, but we felt rushed at the end and would have enjoyed more time walking around the beautiful grounds. The audio tour is quite extensive and takes time to listen to all of it. If you're more inclined to take a quick glance and move on, you won't need as much time.

    We did everything we wanted to at the Tower in a morning (there right when they opened) and were ready to leave after lunch.

    We spent an entire Sunday in the British museum and still hadn't seen all we wanted to when they kicked us out.

    So excited for you - it's going to be a great trip!
     
  13. pigby

    pigby <font color=66CC33>This one might be a little more

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2000
    Messages:
    3,202
    OK - well we are British but we go to London 2 or three times a year as 'tourists'. We go for up to a week at a time (only 2 nights though in a months time). We have been going for a while - we live a couple of hours away by train and trust me, the attractions would take you much much longer than the suggested 2/3 weeks to get around.

    Our favourite things to do include :

    London Zoo - hope to go again end May - it's worth it to walk through Regents Park when all the flowers are out.

    Speaking of parks, we love to walk through Hyde Park - to see the Diana fountain (free attraction) or the adjacent St James Park.

    Other free attractions included the museums - been to a few - favourite free one is Natural History Museum - wasn't so entralled with the British Musem - but maybe that's just me. Also love the Imperial War Museum - this is FREE - they only charge for special events.

    Also been to Tussauds (good but very very crowded) go first thing in the morning - always discount vouchers about for this one. Right across the street is a little museum with a old style British 'bobby' stood outside - it's 10b (is that the right number?) Baker Street - Sherlock Holmes house (not really he was fictional but they've decked out the house like the books) - it's also right by the entrance to REgent Park (for the zoo)

    Tower of London was OK to see once.

    Agree with the shows - we love Wicked - seen 3 times - we've also booked in advance but you can go the booth that's been mentioned in Leicester Square - go early and you might score front row seats for as little as £25.

    You can go on a Ghost Walk or a Jack the Ripper walk - ran by UK TV celebrity Richard Jones - both were excellent and a great way to spend an evening. We are also doing a Harry Potter walking tour - seeing the sights in the books - it's a daytime tour and we have this planned for a months time.

    We love the London Dungeons - gruesome but great fun and not far from Waterloo.

    We also went on a sightseeing bus tour last time (January) but it was freezing - you'll have better luck in August.

    If you have only got 3 days though, I wouldnt stray too far from Central London - theres loads to do there - I think Hampton Court is a bit of a way off and that's only 35 mins by train from Waterloo. I could go on about Windsor Castle and theme parks reachable by train but I wouldnt recommend in a short trip - you'll just have to go back again. I probably missed loads out anyway - do a search on London Pass if you're planning to do lots of attractions and see if that's worth buying.
     
  14. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Messages:
    10,925
    The ABD does go see a show in the West End (Lion King), but I'll check out the discount tickets, that would be a nice thing to do in the evening! And I do love Zoos. I assume the London one is pretty old? I'll check it out!

    Thanks for the link to the Buckingham Palace tours! Some of those look really cool. I'll definitely check them out. Too bad that evening one isn't available the days I'll be in London on my own, or the day we have an evening free.

    Thanks!
    Sayhello
     
  15. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Messages:
    10,925
    The Tower of London is included in the ABD tour. I'm really looking forward to that. And I would also like to do that nighttime tour they have. Good to know they're serious about the camera thing. They were pretty serious about no pictures in the Sistine Chapel, too!

    Thanks!
    Sayhello
     
  16. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Messages:
    10,925
    It's the original Madame Tussaud's. Thanks for the reminder! I definitely will add that to my Must Do list! And for sure the London Eye!

    Any place in particular you suggest I get some of that fantastic English bacon? Although I am staying at a B&B in Winchester before heading to London. I imagine I could get some of it there!

    Thanks!
    Sayhello
     
  17. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Messages:
    10,925
    OK, check on the Oyster card, Heathrow Express (although I'm going to Winchester from the airport, not London. Do they do an express to Winchester?), and check on the Real Ale.

    But "SIM cards"?? Is that for my cell phone? I'll probably just get an international phone from Verizon like I did last year. That worked like a charm...

    That "Ceremony of the Keys", is that the night-time tour they do? Do you have the contact information to get tickets? Thanks!

    I was in London 31 years ago. I really don't remember a lot of the details, so I'm treating it like I've never been there before. :)

    Thanks!
    Sayhello
     
  18. beachcat

    beachcat Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Messages:
    183
    I did Knights and Lights in May 2010. We spent an extra week in London. When you are tired of walking and your back and feet are crying "uncle", go aboard the Thames Clipper boats and ride from the O2 arena to the London Eye and back. Touring by fast boat with a bar and bathroom on board. I rode the Tornado Clipper for 4 hours and had a wonderful time and a conversation with a crew member named Sean who thought it was great that a Crazy American was riding his boat up and down the Thames River.
     
  19. MaleficentRN

    MaleficentRN DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Messages:
    1,692
    I agree you must see a show. :thumbsup2 Madam Tussaud's is up there as well. I love London Dungeon. So gruesome it's borderline campy! But a must do? Ehh..
    You should squeeze in Harrod's. They have everything. EVERYTHING! And while you're there you might as well stay for afternoon tea.
     
  20. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Messages:
    10,925
    I'm really looking forward to Hampton Court Palace. I think the gardens sound wonderful. Would you suggest hitting one of the pubs in Hampton Court for lunch?

    The Tower is included in the ABD tour, but I'm definitely going to check out the Ceremony of the keys. I've heard it's really cool. A lot of people have recommended the British Museum. I'm definitely adding that to my list!

    Thanks!
    Sayhello
     
  21. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Messages:
    10,925
    So far Hampton Court is definitely sounding like a shoe-in for my list! Along with the British Museum! I'll check out Parliament. I think I'm staying relatively close to there. Stonehenge and Bath sound cool, too. Via Tours? I'll check them out.

    Thanks!
    Sayhello
     

Share This Page