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Old 06-03-2014, 06:03 PM
 
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Considering London for my next vacation. It would be my first trip to the UK.

It wouldn't be a long trip, about 10 days. I'd like some input to trim down my list of things to see and do. I plan on sticking to central London (large as it is), without taking any day trips outside the city.

So what are the must-do sites in London?

What can I put off to a future trip?

What should I just skip altogether?
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Old 06-04-2014, 06:31 AM
 
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I have been to London several times and it is one of my favorite cities. These are some of the things I have enjoyed:

London Eye: I thought it would be lame and touristy and not worth the money. WRONG! I loved it. Make sure the weather is good enough where you will be able to see far enough in the distance. I bought tickets ahead of time, went right when it opened, and didn’t have much of a queue to wait in. It can get slammed at certain times of the day, so research it a little so you don’t waste too much time. The views are fantastic and the whole thing is really well done.

Westminster Abby: I really enjoyed the self-guided audio tour. I loved the architecture and the history of the place.

Covent Garden: stop by the Covent Garden Market for lunch or to do a bit of shopping. You can also pick up some cheaper last minute tickets to a West End show (Broadway equivalent) at the TKTS booth. West End shows are much more affordable than Broadway shows in NYC, so if you like theater or musicals, then I highly recommend seeing something.

Thames River cruise: I really enjoyed this. The boat left from the London Eye/Big Ben area and went up to Greenwich, where you can then go to the Observatory or just poke around the town. We then took the DLR back to London proper. You learn a lot about the skyline of London and other tidbits of interesting info.

Tower Bridge: I really liked going up into the Tower Bridge and walking through it. I didn’t even know you could until I stumbled upon it.

Windsor Castle is a fun side trip and a quick train ride out of London. Take the train out of Paddington Station, switch trains in Slough, and you are there. From the train station, it is an easy walk to the castle and town and a nice day trip.

I haven’t even touched upon museums or the British Library (Magna Carta! Hand written Beatles lyrics!). A lot of things are nice just to walk by and see…Big Ben and Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square…it is great if you can leisurely walk around and just go wherever strikes your fancy. Strangely, I never seem to make it to the Tower of London when I visit, so I can’t give you much info there. I also highly recommend you get an Oyster card for public transit. We use the tube a lot when in London…and buses but to a lesser extent. The Oyster card lets us travel an unlimited amount. One thing I find is that London is way more expensive than other world cities when it comes to public transit.

What to skip? I can't think of much off the top of my head. I wouldn't bother with seeing Harrod's. Other than an impressive food hall, it is just a store. I am not sure what makes it a destination for people or maybe I just don't get it.

Next time I am in London, I think I'd like to go up to the top of the Shard and see what that's like.
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Old 06-04-2014, 06:56 AM
 
Location: Gorgeous Scotland
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For someone who has never been I'd say the top ones are Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, British Museum, and a trip to Greenwich, Windsor Castle, maybe Hampton Court Palace. Just too many to list.
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Old 06-04-2014, 07:42 AM
 
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The British Library and the Zebra Stripes in front of 3 Abbey Road are my favs. Yes, there is a common thread there.

Also the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey.
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Old 06-04-2014, 03:39 PM
 
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Besides what has already been mentioned, I think the Museum of London (Museum of London ) is a good choice if one wants to learn about the history of the city itself.
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Old 06-04-2014, 03:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ottawa2011 View Post
Considering London for my next vacation. It would be my first trip to the UK.

It wouldn't be a long trip, about 10 days. I'd like some input to trim down my list of things to see and do. I plan on sticking to central London (large as it is), without taking any day trips outside the city.

So what are the must-do sites in London?

What can I put off to a future trip?

What should I just skip altogether?

I was just in London last week and have enjoyed most of the attractions. These are the only things I would skip:

The Tower of London - 22 quids to get in, a bundle more for an audio tour that is confusing and hard to follow. The "attractions" inside are pretty cheap looking in my opinion. Unless you really want to see the Crown Jewel I would skip it.

The speaker's corner in Hyde Park - taken over by religious nuts debating amongst each other. You get higher quality rants at a typical Manhattan street corner.
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Old 06-04-2014, 04:29 PM
 
3,431 posts, read 3,045,229 times
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Great replies! Thanks for the advice...

I wondered whether the Eye was worth trying, and apparently it's well worth the views. I saw a Youtube clip of some people riding it, and the views are better than I would've guessed. The "pods" are huge.

Oyster card is a must. I'd be taking the tube around. I navigated the Paris Metro pretty easily on my last vacation, so I'm less intimidated about trying London's transit system.

It's interesting that the Tower of London doesn't get many raves. From looking at a map, it's a little out of the way compared to most of the sites that interest me. So I'll very likely bypass that one for my first London trip.
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Old 06-04-2014, 05:21 PM
 
Location: NW Indiana
1,318 posts, read 1,182,566 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkwensky View Post
I was just in London last week and have enjoyed most of the attractions. These are the only things I would skip:

The Tower of London - 22 quids to get in, a bundle more for an audio tour that is confusing and hard to follow. The "attractions" inside are pretty cheap looking in my opinion. Unless you really want to see the Crown Jewel I would skip it.

The speaker's corner in Hyde Park - taken over by religious nuts debating amongst each other. You get higher quality rants at a typical Manhattan street corner.
I have been to London a couple of times and thinking of taking a small group of friends there next year.

I agree about Speaker's Corner. It has changed a lot over the years and is now just a big waste of time. I would recommend blowing it off and just strolling through Hyde Park.

However, I would still recommend the Tower of London. It is expensive, but I think it well worth it.

I also second Chava61's recommendation on the Museum of London as well as the British Museum. Both are outstanding.

I would also recommend some of the London Walks, especially the Thames Pub Crawl. If I do end up taking some friends to London next year, I will definitely be doing some more of the Walks.
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Old 06-04-2014, 07:51 PM
 
Location: NW Philly Burbs
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I highly recommend taking one of the London Walks while you're there. Two-hour, guided walking tours, no reservation needed. I've taken quite a few, exploring different parts of the city or learning about a particular topic. They also have longer tours, stringing a few walks together. The tour guides are incredibly knowledgable!
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Old 06-04-2014, 09:37 PM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
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We were in London the week before last, and I'm kind of glad we aren't the only ones that were disappointed with the Tower of London. Despite its remarkable history, it's been a tourist trap since the 19th century and is rather proud of that.

When you start to come up with a list of sites that have admission fees, check and see how many of them are covered by the London Pass:

The London Pass® - Sightseeing and Tourism for Less

The attractions options has a decent number of the bigger sites like Westminster Abbey, Kew Gardens, Tower of London etc. and you're effectively spreading the risk so if you get somewhere and are thoroughly bored, you can move on to another place without feeling like you've wasted too much money and it also gives you the freedom to take a chance of something like Churchill's War Rooms, which turned out to be pretty cool. (Just skip the attractions+ transit option since you'll almost always do better price-wise by buying an Oyster Card on your own)
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