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Visiting London. Help!

Old 01-21-09, 07:10 PM
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Visiting London. Help!

My 16 year old son and I will be visiting London in Late March. Unfortunately we will only have two days and I need some advice. We're looking at being tourists and are certainly open to suggestions.


Where do I stay? Is public transportation idiot proof? What can I simply NOT miss?

Thanks, Dave

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Old 01-22-09, 08:23 AM
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This might help - can't really suggest much though.
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Old 01-22-09, 08:35 AM
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Don't miss:

1. Tower of London
2. British Museum
3. Victoria and Albert Museum (maybe not so interesting to 16 year old)
4. Imperial War Museum (great for 16-year-old)
5. Westminster Abbey
6. London Eye

I also really like Hampton Court Palace, but it's a bit of a way out of the central part of London to go see.

If you are at the British Musuem a very small, quirky, fun thing to see that is an easy walk from there is Sir John Soame's house.

Covent Garden is a lot of fun for a 16-year-old.

There is a tourist bus in London that makes a circuit of all the big spots; you can buy a ticket and jump on/jump off all day. But the tube, taxis, and regular public bus service are easy to use.

With a 16 year old you'll want to walk around in SoHo and the West End. In fact, my favorite thing to do in London is walk - a lot of central is pretty compact...if the weather is nice you can easily walk from Westminster Abbey - past 10 Downing Street - Trafalgar Square - Covent Garden - then either up to British Museum or back through the West End all the way to Marble Arch and/or back to Regent's Park. The very time I visited London I took a huge hike crisscrossing London, mainly just trying to walk through and/or past as many places as I had heard of, stopping, shopping and snacking along the way.

Don't be tempted to visit:
- London Dungeon
- Madame Tussaud's
- Buckingham Palace (walk by, don't do the tour)

I have found TripAdvisor to be very good for hotel advice.

Last edited by BengeBoy; 01-22-09 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 01-22-09, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by cwodave View Post
Is public transportation idiot proof?
In the sense that you can pretty much count on delays in the Tube service. But being a tourist you can avoid the worst rush hours, and if you stay anywhere near the City, distances will be short anyways. Once you know where you're staying, get a Travelcard that covers appropriate area for the duration of your stay. If you're planning on using the public transportation at all, a Travelcard is less hassle and costs less than two individual tickets (depending on the zone).

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Old 01-22-09, 09:45 AM
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I just spent some time in london in december. Tower of London was good (london bridge is right there). If you're at tower of london on a saturday, there is this thing called borough market nearby which is a bunch of street vendors/tents with food/cheese/etc. British Museum was amazing, you can spend a lot of time there if you want to see everything it has. I spent two afternoons (8-10 hours?) moving at a decent pace and did not finish everything.

If you like art, the National Gallery (at trafalgar square) had some really impressive paintings (and I'm not usually an art person). It didnt seem that big though, so you could get through in an hour or two?

I used a pocket sized map book called A to Z London, which was invaluable. A compass might be handy too if you're easily disoriented or taking the subway (tube). Look at some tube maps before you go and you may want to get a travel card. I must have been lucky, we didnt wait that long for the tube, except for one delay for an unattended package (track shut down for a bit). However, it was mid-december and we mostly avoided rush hour (which still wasn't as bad as CTA in chicago).

I did take the hop-on/hop-off bus (its a 24 hour pass I think, 48 hours in off-season). I think the tube would be faster, or even walking in some cases. Maybe it was because it was the off-season, but we had to wait for the bus a few times (up to 10-15 minutes), then sit in traffic... However, it does give you discounted tickets for tower of london, might be some other perks too.

Wear comfortable shoes with good support. My girlfriend did not have good shoes and the uneven surfaces gave her serious foot pain after a few days of walking. Also, dress warmly. It seemed colder than I expected for the temperature (30-45F) because of the high humidity (unlike the dry midwest).

Last edited by black_box; 01-22-09 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 01-22-09, 09:50 AM
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There are many, many things to do and to walk around the West End and City is probably one of the best. You'll see things that lots of people in London miss by being on the Tube, never mind tourists, and will definitely have a great time.

Good suggestions above. Oyster card will be cheaper for you but Travelcard for your son unless you want to arrange a photocard Oyster for him (

St. Paul's cathedral is amazing, the Natural History Museum and Science museum are both great fun and very educational for children (I love going still - there's plenty for adults too...) and really, you can't go wrong.

Here are a few sites you might be interested in:

and last but not least (sorry, I just love doing it):

Enjoy yourself!
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Old 01-25-09, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Matt Gaunt View Post

and last but not least (sorry, I just love doing it):

Enjoy yourself!
Too Funny! Thanks to everybody for your ideas. I think we're going to have a great time!

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