I had a wonderful time in London....LOVED it! I have been home a month now and am already thinking about what I want to do on my next visit. :-)
Here is what our days in London looked like:
Our Plane touched down at 6:30am. Not wanting to stress out, or drag luggage, we had a car take us to the hotel. I have never seen so many drivers with signs out, I counted at least 50! Since our room was not ready, we stored our luggage, armed ourselves with a tube map, and set out to find Paddington Railway station for our 7 day travel pass. With passes in hand, we hopped on the tube to Oxford Circus to begin our exploring. Not really ready to start shopping, we got back on the tube, and headed to Trafalgar Square. We looked in at St. Martin of the Fields church,Crypt cafe, brass rubbings and then went into the National Gallery.Looking from the front of The National Gallery gave us our 1st view of Big Ben. Now hungry, we stopped for a bite to eat. We headed back, checked into our room, and after a short rest, wen went to check out Harrod's, before ending our day.
We started Out a little later than I had hoped this morning to The Tower of London. My phone indicated a sunny day, but it was misting as we got off the tube. By the time we got to the tower, we were chilly, and wet,so we purchased umbrellas at the gift shop. Big lesson learned today....don't believe the phone, and always carry an umbrella! I was very excited to see the Tower Bridge as we began our walk to the tower. Being late, wet,and seeing the line to get into the Tower, we decided to come back to tour it another day. We walked around Katherines dock, and then went to walk Tower Bridge. We had made it about 3/4 over, when it started to pour rain. We walked back to the tube, to our room for our jackets, and then headed to St. Pauls Church. We stopped for lunch near the church, our first fish and chips of the trip. There was a person holding a fish and chips sign, which got out attention. It turned out to be a great little place, right across from Benehana's. The fish was fresh, and they cooked it right up for us, which we shared. Once at St. Pauls,we were too late for the tour. We had planned to attend the evensong,so we waited. Quite the treat to be seated right up with the quire.
Today was our Theatre day. We started with a backstage tour of the National theatre. After, we walked along the river Thames where we were excited to see The Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye. We stopped, along the river, for tacos at a food truck before heading back to the tube, and Westminster station for our matinee of "Wicked". Awesome show!! We then decided to walk to Buckingham Palace so we would know where to go for our tour tomorrow. We walked around, witnessed a guard change, and took lots of pictures. We stopped in a pub for dinner (fish and chips) on our way back to the tube, and our room.
Today was our "Royal day out" tour of Buckingham Palace. The tour included The Queens Gallery, the Royal Mews and the State Rooms. These were self guided tours, and so interesting that we took all day to finish them. We made a quick stop between the Mews and the Palace for a sandwich. After the State rooms tour,we enjoyed hot chocolate and profiteroles (YUM!) at the cafe right out the back door of the palace. After some shopping for souvenirs at the Palace shops, we headed back to our room to give our feet a rest.
Began our 2 day tour of Paris -took the Eurostar to Paris
Paris, Eurostar back to London 9pm.
Day 7: We took today a little slower. We walked around the neighborhood of our hotel and found a couple churches, and some great places for food,and shopping. Really a great little neighborhood. We hopped the tube after dark so we could do night views of the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, House of Parliament with Big Ben, and the London Eye. Breathtakingly beautiful!
This morning we went to complete the Tower of London tour. I really wanted to do the yeoman tour, but our timing was just never right. As advised,We headed straight for the crown jewels, gorgeous! After the jewels, We tried again to meet up with a yeoman tour, but again, didn't want to wait. We went ahead with exploring on our own, with their audio guide. My sister noticed the raised floor of the Tower Bridge while we were still inside touring the Tower of London. Loved that!
My sister wanted to get some London team gear for her grandson,so we headed north to Finsbury Park station to the Arsenal store.
On the way back to the hotel, we stopped off at Marble Arch to see what that was about. After dinner in our neighborhood, we headed to Oxford Circus and the Apple store so my sister could get her Ipad cord checked. This was the day before the iphone5 release and there were people camping out in anticipation. Hugh store!!
Up early today, to meet the bus for our day trip to Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge. My sister woke to a bladder infection which wasn't good. This was a very rushed tour, and I am not sure that I would recommend it. It did get me in to see 3 landmarks, but really no time to browse,look for a snack or drink, or even go to the bathroom. I got turned around after leaving Windsor Castle and had a time finding my way back to the bus (they park quite a distance away). My sister ended up leaving the tour at Windsor, and taking the train back to the city where she went to St Marys hospital, she was tested, and given some medication. No charge!
The highlight of this whole tour was seeing the Changing of the Guard at Windsor up close and personal.
We were up and out early for our 9:30am tour of the House of Parliament. The art and history of this building is amazing! We really enjoyed this tour.
We stopped at the cafe for hot mocha and pastry on our way out. Next was Westminster Abbey, which is right across the street. We took the tour 1st thing, which was lucky because they stopped them for the evening services. We stopped for a quick sandwich,then went back in for the evensong. Again, we were able to sit up with the quire, which really adds to the whole experience. We walked across the Thames for our ride on the London Eye.It was late in the day so the line was not long, and went pretty quick. Great views! It was the only way I could capture The Houses of Parliament in 1 shot. We continued our walk along the Thames and down near the Waterloo tube station for a mexican dinner. Walked back to the Westminster tube stop for the ride back to our hotel.
Today was our 1st (and only) day with no alarm wake up. We met up with the Fat Tire Bike people at the Queensway tube station, for the Royal Parks bike tour. After getting our bikes, instructions and guide, we were on our way. This tour was one of the highlights of our whole trip, so much fun! This is a 4 hour, flat tire bike ride that takes you through Kensington and Hyde parks, past Kensington and Buckingham Palaces,to Trafalgar Square, down by The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St James horse guard and Diana's memorial garden. You ride about 8 1/2 miles (flat), and are off roads 90% of the time. We were doing this on a Sunday, so were fortunate to have some of the roads closed off for us.
After a rest back in our room (within walking distance to Queensway), we rode the tube to St Pauls and had a yummy french dinner, and saw the chruch lit up at night.
Our last day in London (sad,but exhausted). We rode the tube to Westminster, where we boarded a boat to Greenwich. Yet another perspective of the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, and we went under the Tower Bridge! We walked around Greenwich, the Cutty Sark, and checked out some of the shops, and had fish and chips in a paper cone. We walked up, to the Observatory and Planatarium, which we also toured.
On the way down from the observatory, I told my sister we needed to find the foot tunnel. She had no clue what I was talking about, but when we found it she really liked it. We walked under the river to the other side of the Thames, to see another view of Greenwich. We walked back under the river, into Greenwich so we could pick up a couple things at one of the shops, took DLR back to the city, where we ate our last London meal at our favorite fish and chips place by St. Paul's.
Then, back to the room to pack up all our dirty clothes, gifts and souvenirs.
A big thank you to the forum for all the wonderful tips, opinions and advice. I know my trip would not have
been quite as enjoyable with it!!