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Old 01-10-2019, 07:25 PM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
27,694 posts, read 28,810,676 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slapshotbob99 View Post
FINAL DECISION:

We were on the fence for so long that the free-market made our decision for us. Ticket prices changed for our dates and made it more expensive to do both, so we decided to stay in London for the whole week. Paris will have to be another trip.

Thanks to all. I hope this thread helps others too.
These are some of the sites I recommend in London:

Buckingham Palace
Big Ben
Houses of Parliament
The London Eye
Tower of London
The British Museum
Westminster Abbey
Covent Garden
Trafalgar Square
Piccadilly Circus
Oxford Circus
Regent Street
Kensington Gardens

For me, also the original Hard Rock Cafe.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
19,461 posts, read 27,950,602 times
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Glad you've made your final arrangements. Now the fun part - planning your trip.

The above list is pretty inclusive, hitting all The tourist and historical attractions in the guidebooks. Personally, I think some are way overblown, but I admit that I often purposely avoid touristy places. Instead of Hard Rock Cafe, I'd be sitting in a pub someplace where I'm likely to be the only one without an English accent. That's just MY preferences. In any event, several things on The above list are just a quick walkthrough.

So - a few suggestions:

If you have any interest at all in WWII history, add the Churchill War Room to your list.
Schedule a time to see the Changing of the Guard at the Palace. Yeah, it's touristy, but it's quite an affair - and fun. Arrive EARLY and be prepared to stand.
Add Harrod's to your list - specifically, the food hall in the basement.
Do a day out of London. Not Stonehenge. If your into literature and history, Cambridge or Oxford (don't try to do both). If you enjoy charm and more of a village type atmosphere, I'd suggest Bath. All are easily accessible by train, and the train ride is cool - some very nice scenery.
Hampton Court Palace is lovely, but a bit off the beaten path.
Fish and Chips shop - a REAL one, where they serve it in unprinted newspaper (though I miss the printed newspaper days).
Get a Rick Steve's guidebook. That will offer up many ideas for things that are REAL London (and outskirts) rather than just the tourist sites.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:54 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
27,694 posts, read 28,810,676 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jkgourmet View Post
Instead of Hard Rock Cafe, I'd be sitting in a pub someplace where I'm likely to be the only one without an English accent.
The London Hard Rock Cafe is more personal for me. They have a vault tour where they let you play a guitar from a legendary rock star.

Kind of nice.
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Old 01-11-2019, 09:34 AM
 
Location: Denver CO
24,201 posts, read 19,289,738 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jkgourmet View Post
Do a day out of London. Not Stonehenge.

I kind of agree about Stonehenge, because it is ultimately a disappointment IMO. Busy and crowded and you can't get that close unless you buy $$ special access tickets. But I also kind of disagree because it is certainly a world famous and unique attraction and the rest of what is there is also very interesting, not just the stone circle. If you are a history buff, it may still seem well worth it for those other aspects.

If you are interested in seeing a henge but want to pass on Stonehenge, you could look into visiting Avebury. Less well known but just as interesting in it's own right IMO.

And I strongly recommend a visit to Bath. It's so charming and as an English History buff, I'm sure your wife has read Jane Austen and maybe other books from/about that time period and there is something special about walking through those same streets and attractions.

If you are a tennis fan, I'd add Wimbledon. And I don't think I saw Hyde Park on anyone's list, that's worth a stop. I love the Museum of London, very interesting walk through the city's particular history. It's in between the Barbican Centre (the winter home of the Royal Shakespeare Company) and St. Paul's Cathedral, both of which I'd also put on your list. If you are live-theater goers, there is a TKTS booth for the West End theaters, for discounted tickets, so I'd check that out too.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:39 AM
 
Location: NYC
5,265 posts, read 3,631,848 times
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I say follow up the tip above about reserving/buying tickets online before showing up at a major sight/transport if dates are known. I have gotten stuck with this 3 times in recent years resulting in hours-long lines or a hefty extra charge (train) or just being shut out of a very popular sight due to overcrowding.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:55 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
19,461 posts, read 27,950,602 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
The London Hard Rock Cafe is more personal for me. They have a vault tour where they let you play a guitar from a legendary rock star.

Kind of nice.

That is the ONLY time I've heard a good reason for going to a Hard Rock Cafe.
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Northern California
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If you want to visit Hampton Court Palace, take a boat trip down the Thames to get there, it is lots of fun, to see many sights, from the river.


Thames River Boats
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:09 PM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
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Stonehenge and the nearby town of Salisbury make for a good long day trip. The cathedral is cool and you can get up close and personal with the best-preserved remaining copy of the Magna Carta. The British Library has another copy in their interesting archives room and is open later than many other London attractions. (Many of the museums do have a designated evening hours night once a week. Know those when planning out your stay) Also check and see if there are any special exhibits you need additional tickets for and buy them as your plans firm up. Some of them like Pink Floyd at the V&A in 2017 tended to sell out time slots ahead of admission day.

Horseguards Parade is a commonly recommended substitution for the Changing of the Guard- still a cool ceremony and less crowded.

I love the Victoria & Albert Museum- also neat cafeteria area there, and like many museum cafes, the food there is above average and reasonably priced.

London Eye seems to be a love or hate kind of thing. There are other places like the top floor of the Tate Modern Museum or the Sky Garden (free ticket needs to be reserved beforehand) that will also give you great London views for free.

I dig Kew Gardens, and if you're thinking a Wimbledon tour, it's the same southwest suburban area for that day.
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Old 01-12-2019, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Great Britain
27,404 posts, read 13,632,773 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emm74 View Post

I love the Museum of London, very interesting walk through the city's particular history. It's in between the Barbican Centre (the winter home of the Royal Shakespeare Company) and St. Paul's Cathedral, both of which I'd also put on your list. If you are live-theater goers, there is a TKTS booth for the West End theaters, for discounted tickets, so I'd check that out too.


The Muesum of London is moving in to one of the historic buildings in Smithfield in 2022, and the site it currently stands on is to be demolished and a new concert hall designed by NYC Architects Dillier, Scofidio and Refro who designed the NYC High Line is to be opened on the site.

Museum of London West Smithfield - Stanton Williams Architects

New York Architects Chosen for Major New London Concert Hall - The New York Times
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Old 01-12-2019, 03:30 PM
 
33,332 posts, read 12,642,034 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emm74 View Post
Can you extend the trip at all? A week isn't really enough time to do both IMO, but if you could push it up to even 9 days, you'd be able to see a bit more of both. Honestly, I feel like 2 days in Paris would almost be more frustrating than not going at all because you'd have to skip so much of even the top must-see stuff with that short of a time.

They are both wonderful and amazing places, so it is very tough to say to skip one completely when your chances of getting back soon are limited but for 7 days, I'd stick with 1. Personally, I'd probably do Paris now as a couple and save London because you could still bring along young kiddo(s) for that and have a blast. Not that Paris isn't great for kids too, but I think there is more there I'd want to do that is less family friendly than in London and vicinity.

I agree with you.

I've spent probably a year of my life traveling in Europe (longest trip about 4 months, shortest 3 weeks) and I wouldn't do both cities in 7 days. I would pick Paris as well, for many of the same reasons you mentioned.

There are also 'always more things to see'. I've spent a fair amount of time in London and the surrounding areas over the years, and the same with Paris. There are still things I haven't seen. In the mid 2000s I ran into a wealthy native to Great Britain couple (in the visitor's center at Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick, Canada) who had waited until a bit later in life to have kids. Their kids were with them (3 or 4...I can't remember which), and they split their time between homes in Beverly Hills, CA and London.....when they weren't driving around the U.S. and Canada in their large RV. I got the feeling that the kids were being home schooled. The husband said to me that they had been driving around the U.S. and Canada for 25 years and they still hadn't seen everything. The same was true re the travel part for my grandparents (except they drove around in a luxury car and stayed in hotels) over an even longer period.
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