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March 4 - 10 2013 London trip

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March 4 - 10 2013 London trip

Please review my itinerary for my solo trip to London in March 2013.

I will be buying a 6-day London Pass. I am going solo so 241 deal is out of the question. I have done the math and from what I gathered, I will be saving at least £20 if I visit all attractions on this list. Plus the perk of not having to queue for tickets and having all paid for. Should I get the London Pass with travel? I know it's probably not the best idea. The only place I will be going outside Zones 1 and 2 I think is Windsor and it is free with the travel option for London Pass. If i buy the travelcard separately for zones 1- 2 only, how much will I need to pay for the extension fare to Windsor?

Now my itinerary.

March 4

Arrive in LHR at 13:40.

Will arrange a pick up from Exclusive Airports.

Check in at Parkwood at Marble Arch.

National Gallery

Harry Potter Walk at 18:30

March 5

Free Changing of the Guard walk from Original London Bus tour.

Visit Royal Mews and Queens Gallery

State Rooms (if open)

HOHO bus tour (full cycle on the yellow line)

London Eye

March 6

Harry Potter Studio Tour

March 7

Windsor Castle (morning til about 14:00)

V&A Museum

March 8

Tower of London (at opening)

St Paul's Cathedral

Tower Bridge Exhibition

Ceremony of the Keys

March 9

Houses of Parliament

Jewel Tower

Westminster Abbey

Evensong at St Paul's

March 10

Check out of Parkwood and off to Paris through Eurostar.

Any free time at the end of the day will be spent probably on free museums and just wander around the city especially in parks.

London
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1. Re: March 4 - 10 2013 London trip

I'd be surprised if the LP would be worth it since so much of your list is free. You could check smartsave for paying attractions with a discount.

Do you really want to do the Tower Bridge exhibition (bridge hydraulics). Otherwise do immediately after the Tower as it's next to it.

Queues are rarely long esp for the sites you've mentioned or unavoidable (security for the Houses of Parliament for example).

Whatever you do do not get the LP with travelcard. Get an Oystercard with a 7 day travelcard for zones 1 + 2 and about £10 PAYG instead.

London
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2. Re: March 4 - 10 2013 London trip

HOHO bus tours are generally a rip off, your oyster card would cover you for this and London Buses and tube go everywhere. London is far less spread out than many other European cities so walking is usually best. If you have an iPhone etc that with a map app this will help. A day return to Windsor leaving London after 10.00am will cost you about £10.00. It is a nice town to look round, have a cream tea in the large hotel there.

London is a greg city to explore and is relatively safe, people are generally friendly and I would hate to think you have missed the joy of exploring the city without the forced merriment of HOHO services, if you are able bodied you can do everything yourself.

The National Gallery opens until 9.00pm on a Friday and is a great chance to get round it with fewer tourists and hardly any children, so I would think about doing it then or go twice. The National PORTRAIT Gallery is open until 9.00pm on Thursday and Friday currently, these are two separate galleries next to each other.

Not sure what the 'Changing the Guard' walking tour is, but you can see this everyday at Buckingham Palace at 11.30am, get there by 11.00am though as the music starts at about 11.15am. Buckingham Palace is the other end of the Mall to the National Gallery and Trafalgar Square, you can walk from one to the other in about 15 minutes.

I agree about Tower of London and Tower Bridge, they are next to each other. So do St Pauls before or after, not between. If you go to St Pauls for a service you get in free, if there is no service on you will be charged. St Pauls also has a coffee shop and nice toilets.

You've not mentioned the Globe, so a walk on the Southbank might be good if you have time.

London
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3. Re: March 4 - 10 2013 London trip

My thoughts on the above:

If anything London is one of the bigger European cities with a bigger footprint than Paris or Rome for example.

HOHO buses are a very valuable way of getting your bearings and a feel for how things connect up - not easy to do in a labyrinthine city like London - I would be very rich if I had a £ for every tourist I've seen on an ordinary bus oblivious or ignorant of the sites they are passing. (Is that a castle - Royal courts of Justice/what's that? - St Paul's being but 2 recent examples).

You have enough time to do one if you wish - a complete circuit takes about 2-3 hours, your call at the end of the day.

The COTG walking tour is included in the Original Bus tour ticket - some companies include a river cruise which is better IMO and you can do the COTG at Windsor this might be preferable as most people find it rather underwhelming.

I'm pretty sure the State Apartments at Buck Pal aren't open in March and if you intend doing a tour of Parliament (recommended), this should be booked beforehand.

Not sure what the extension fare to Windsor is but the cheap day return (off peak) fare, after 9.30 am (at the moment, fares usually rise in January) is £9.50 from Paddington which is the service I'd use as it's fast , frequent and near the Parkwood.

Although you have the London Eye the Shard observation gallery should be open by the time you come - and should be better IMO -, so might be worth looking out for any offers (It almost certainly won't be on the LP). Finally you don't have any streetmarkets - Borough, Camden, Spitalfields or museums like the Imperial War Museum (free).

Edited: 3:01 pm, June 05, 2012
London, UK
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4. Re: March 4 - 10 2013 London trip

On your first day, it is likely that you would not have time to visit the National Gallery. Getting through the airport and into central London may well take longer than you expect. However, Trafalgar Square is a short walk from Buckingham Palace so you can fit it in then, especially as the State Rooms will not be open.

Watford
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5. Re: March 4 - 10 2013 London trip

I think you have the right idea but at this stage you shouldn't set anything in stone except possibly the Harry Potter studio tour. For instance the 2013 Changing of the Guard schedule has yet to be confirmed. It will be every other day and just because it was an odd day in March 2012 is no guarantee that the same will apply next year.

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: March 4 - 10 2013 London trip

thank you for all your replies!

For the museums that are free even without LP, I have included the price for the audio guide that comes free with LP.

I will be moving the sites and days around so I can put the closer sites on the same day (Tower Bridge, Tower of London, etc).

Parklandwalk, that is exactly why I want to do the HOHO. I like to get an overview of what London is like and where the attractions are.

U.S. expats
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7. Re: March 4 - 10 2013 London trip

If you will insist on getting the London Pass--which I think is a poor value--why don't you try to put the expensive attractions in the first three days and get a three day pass instead of a six day pass?

Then you can go to all the lower cost or free attractions the subsequent days, and shell out that 2-3 quid for the audio guide.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: March 4 - 10 2013 London trip

Laura: I did what you suggested and put all attractions that are free with LP and just get the 3 day pass. This is what I came up with.

day1(Monday) - arrive LHR and check in at Parkwood

day 2 - Harry Potter Studio Tour and some free attractions for the rest of the day

day 3 - Original London Bus Tour and Natural History and V&A Museums; British Museum; Thames River Cruise

day 4, 5, 6 (with LP)

day 4 - Windsor Castle most of the day; London Eye (not LP); National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery (open late)

day 5 - Tower of London in AM; St. Paul's; Kensington Palace if I can make it before closing; then back to the Tower for Ceremony of the Keys

day 6 (Saturday) - Houses of Parliament; Jewel Tower; Westminster Abbey; Queen's Gallery and Royal Mews.

this day looks hectic to me. Do you all think this is possible?

Parliament tour starts at 09:15 and should last til 10:30. How long should I set for Jewel Tower, Abbey, and Buck Palace?

day 7 - check out and off to Paris

3-day LP is worth £74 and if I get to visit all of the sites on days 4 - 6, their cost add up to about £84. I will be saving £10. Plus the benefit of not having to queue for tickets.

London
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9. Re: March 4 - 10 2013 London trip

I still think you're over concerned about queuing for tickets esp for the sites you are intending visiting. All to save £10 and that's only if you make everything on your list. You'll probably wait longer in security bag check line.

Up to you but at least the 3 day Pass cuts down some of that risk.

I would say the Jewel Tour, Abbey and BP is most of the rest of the day, allowing for the odd comfort break/snack. I would do WA after Parliament (it's next door), see if there's time for the Jewel Tower, if not head to BP for the Royal Mews/Queens Gallery.

Day 3 feels very heavy with museums ( I know you're trying to maximise your Pass stuff) each of which can take half a day, so you might not make all of them.

You can walk though St James's park if it's fine.

Edited: 3:32 pm, June 06, 2012
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10. Re: March 4 - 10 2013 London trip

Agree with Parkland--your day three looks crammed

Just make sure that you see the two things you want to see the most first and second in the day. As a general rule of thumb, that is how many sites you can get in, with the possibility of a third, smaller one.

I think you will be underwhelmed by Kensington Palace, especially after Windsor and the Tower of London. Don't worry too much about missing it--it looks doubtful in your schedule.