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8 day itinerary - please review

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Washington DC...
posts: 9
8 day itinerary - please review

Hello all,

First, let me tell you how helpful I have found many threads on this forum so far. I will be going to London later this month and would love feedback on my itinerary. I will be traveling alone (mid-20s female), and this is my first time outside North America! I am heading to Dublin first for a few days and then over to London. I love museums, history, and literature if that helps with any suggestions for additional locations. I still have some room to fill on some days (and all of my last Friday), but would also like a few leisurely periods to walk around, have some tea, etc. Please let me know how I can improve. Thanks very much. Here goes:

Thursday: arrive in the early evening, eat, get settled


British Library

Sir John Soane's Museum

British Museum (open late)


9:30 AM Westminster Abbey

11 AM Changing of the Horse Guards (as long as I feel like I saw enough of the Abbey)

Lunch (in St. James Park, if possible)

1:00 Tour of Houses of Parliament (already booked reservation at 1:15)

Tate Britain?


Notting Hill - Portobello Road Market

Hyde Park

shopping - books, stationery?


Tower of London (already purchased ticket)

St. Paul's Cathedral

Globe Theater

7:30 PM Much Ado about Nothing at the Old Vic (already purchased ticket)


National Gallery

Cabinet War Rooms

other Westminster activities

St. Martin-in-the-Fields (classical concert?)


Day trip: Windsor Castle/Stonehenge/Bath (already purchased ticket)


Hampstead Heath

Sherlock Holmes Museum



no plans yet!

Saturday - leave London via Heathrow

posts: 41,321
reviews: 87
1. Re: 8 day itinerary - please review

Too much stuff on Monday, a lot of back and forth travel which will take more time than you have allowed for, you also didn't allow time for a meal or lunch AFAICS. Most people report ToL taking 4 hours or so. I'd skip St Pauls and move that to another day, then everything is vaguely in the same vicinity.

posts: 9,895
reviews: 16
2. Re: 8 day itinerary - please review

As long as you're not definitely trying to get to the CoG on Sat, I think it looks ok.

I agree that Monday has too much in it. Depending on what time you finish at the Tower, I'd take out either St Paul's or the Globe (assuming you want to do the tour, if you're just looking at the outside you might be able to fit it all in if you get to the Tower at opening). Remember last entry to St Paul's is at 4PM. I'm not sure what time they throw you out, but definitely before evensong at 5PM. Allow 3 hrs if you want to see the main floor, crypt, and climb the dome.

You might want to try the Sherlock Homes Museum at opening. We walked past it twice in July and it had long lines both times. I don't know if it's better at other times of the year as I haven't been since the early 90s. We were never there at opening though. I think both times were late morning/early afternoon.

For Friday I might come up with some "just in case" places but leave it open for anything you don't get done.

Washington DC...
posts: 9
3. Re: 8 day itinerary - please review

Thanks very much for the advice about Monday - I knew it would be a busy day, but I didn't realize Tower of London would take up so much time. And thanks, btgm, about the tip regarding the Sherlock Holmes museum. I think I will try to see that first thing on Thursday, then wander around Hampstead for a bit, and then see St. Pauls mid-afternoon. I realize that Hampstead isn't remotely close to St. Paul's, but I would definitely have the travel time. That would also give me extra time on Monday before the performance at night.

I think I will leave Friday open so I can be spontaneous on my last day, but that is a good idea of coming up with a list of potential activities. Any gems you think would be particularly great to add?

Aspen, Colorado
posts: 122
reviews: 1
4. Re: 8 day itinerary - please review

IMO I would spend less time at TOL and more time at St. Pauls. You may also need more time for Westminster Abbey. Get the headsets and plan on spending at least 2 hours.

Jackson, MS
posts: 268
reviews: 11
5. Re: 8 day itinerary - please review

If you can work in a trip to borough market http://www.boroughmarket.org.uk/ I always find that a pleasant experience. And one of my favorite places is the South Bank Centre http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/ There's always something interesting going on there and it's a neat place to just wander around (free wi-fi and views of the river, too!).

Washington DC...
posts: 9
6. Re: 8 day itinerary - please review

I think I'll plan to get to Westminster Abbey right when it opens, and if I don't feel ready to leave I'll skip the Horse Guards.

Thanks for letting me know about the South Bank Centre - I went to the website and it looks great! I'll keep it on my list of potential spots for Friday along with the Borough Market. Rethinking parts of my plan, I might replace the Portobello Market on Sunday with the Victoria and Albert Museum, since I don't think I'm much of a shopper, and the museum is so close to Hyde Park. I'm just a little worried about museum fatigue - I love museums, but I already have quite a number planned! If anyone has other suggestions for Sunday options, please let me know - I don't want to feel beholden to my itinerary every single day.

posts: 6
7. Re: 8 day itinerary - please review

Your Wednesday trip will be exhausting. Windsor eats up a good chunck of the day and even if you leave hotel early which I assume is the case you won't be out before 1 30 pm. Bath needs a good half day. Hopefully you'll want to visit the Roman baths and that takes time.

Destination Expert
for Nile River Valley
posts: 9,296
reviews: 150
8. Re: 8 day itinerary - please review

The Sherlock Holmes Museum is a commercial enterprise, not uninteresting but of course a complete fantasy and with a gift shop bigger than the " museum". An alternative or contrast is the actual house where Charles Dickens lived in Doughty Street. They are a similar type of house but the Dickens one has has his actual furniture and so on.

Destination Expert
for Nile River Valley
posts: 9,296
reviews: 150
9. Re: 8 day itinerary - please review

While in Dublin do not miss the Chester Beatty library. It almost rivals the Treasures of the British Library and has an interesting story too.

Cheshire, UK
posts: 188
reviews: 44
10. Re: 8 day itinerary - please review

For Thursday evening you could consider a guided walk? There are a few companies that run them, just pop it in your search engine. We always try to do a different one as it is a really interesting way to spend an evening and is a relatively cheap option, plus you get to see parts of London you would probably never discover on your own!

I agree with leaving Friday free - if you find yourself at a loose end you can just wander along the South Bank and take it all in!

Hope this helps.

Enjoy your trip!