Visiting London for the First Time!

CynBeth

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 17, 2011
Sorry for the confusion. At Tower of London you do not have to wait in the ticket line but you do have to be the line with everyone else to go through security and get in there is no special priority entry. Then you should head to the Crown Jewels. We were lucky we did not have long to wait.

Today was Greenwich. Our TA mixed up which boat we were to take so we went to the pier for the one company and then found out it was with another company at a different pier and they started the route later so by the time it left at 11:10 am we had to get off at one dock and change boats so did not arrive until 12:30 pm so did not have as much time as we would have liked. We got to the Royal Observatory for the 1 pm ball drop and then saw the Prime Meridian Line before having lunch. Then we did the planetarium which is an extra charge. We went on the Cutty Sark behind having to catch the boat back.

Not sure what you are using for transportation when you go but we had the Hop On Hop Off bus for our Tower of London and Tower Bridge day and it took forever. There is a stop right by our hotel near the London Eye and from there to the Tower it took about an hour. Coming back we picked it up where we were dropped off which is the rest of that route which took about the same amount of time possibly even a little longer to and certain of the colored routes have early last bus times. We are supposed to be on it tomorrow for a different route but we have to get on one and change and we are thinking of just taking cabs instead to get to Madame Tussaud’s, London Zoo, and Kensington Palacr.
 

RUDisney

Mom to Ivan & Kristina
Joined
Apr 8, 2002
Sorry for the confusion. At Tower of London you do not have to wait in the ticket line but you do have to be the line with everyone else to go through security and get in there is no special priority entry. Then you should head to the Crown Jewels. We were lucky we did not have long to wait.

Today was Greenwich. Our TA mixed up which boat we were to take so we went to the pier for the one company and then found out it was with another company at a different pier and they started the route later so by the time it left at 11:10 am we had to get off at one dock and change boats so did not arrive until 12:30 pm so did not have as much time as we would have liked. We got to the Royal Observatory for the 1 pm ball drop and then saw the Prime Meridian Line before having lunch. Then we did the planetarium which is an extra charge. We went on the Cutty Sark behind having to catch the boat back.

Not sure what you are using for transportation when you go but we had the Hop On Hop Off bus for our Tower of London and Tower Bridge day and it took forever. There is a stop right by our hotel near the London Eye and from there to the Tower it took about an hour. Coming back we picked it up where we were dropped off which is the rest of that route which took about the same amount of time possibly even a little longer to and certain of the colored routes have early last bus times. We are supposed to be on it tomorrow for a different route but we have to get on one and change and we are thinking of just taking cabs instead to get to Madame Tussaud’s, London Zoo, and Kensington Palacr.
Why aren’t you taking the underground? It’s inexpensive and very quick. You don’t get to see everything as you drive, but it was a small price to pay for getting to our destinations faster.

Glad you’re having fun!
 

finchy3

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 30, 2014
We try to not use the underground so much as you miss a lot.

Walking the streets with all the history of London is amazing.
 
  • CynBeth

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 17, 2011
    Why aren’t you taking the underground? It’s inexpensive and very quick. You don’t get to see everything as you drive, but it was a small price to pay for getting to our destinations faster.

    Glad you’re having fun!
    I actually suggested trying it but my DM who is with my DH and I refuses to go on it. She is concerned about safety plus us getting confused and lost.
     

    iona

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 24, 2011
    I actually suggested trying it but my DM who is with my DH and I refuses to go on it. She is concerned about safety plus us getting confused and lost.
    That’s a shame. It’s very safe as long as you’re sensible and even if you can’t find a member of staff there are always plenty of people who will stop to help a lost tourist.

    Another alternative might be to explore the London buses. They’ll take longer than the underground but tend to be more direct that the tourist ones and you still get to see the sights.
     

    CynBeth

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 17, 2011
    We had another wonderful day in London spent at Madame Tussaud’s, the London Zoo, and Kensington Palace. Tomorrow we take the train to Paris for 5 nights including time at DLP before returning to London for another 4 days.
     

    Twilight Sparkle

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 24, 2015
    Sorry for the confusion. At Tower of London you do not have to wait in the ticket line but you do have to be the line with everyone else to go through security and get in there is no special priority entry. Then you should head to the Crown Jewels. We were lucky we did not have long to wait.

    Today was Greenwich. Our TA mixed up which boat we were to take so we went to the pier for the one company and then found out it was with another company at a different pier and they started the route later so by the time it left at 11:10 am we had to get off at one dock and change boats so did not arrive until 12:30 pm so did not have as much time as we would have liked. We got to the Royal Observatory for the 1 pm ball drop and then saw the Prime Meridian Line before having lunch. Then we did the planetarium which is an extra charge. We went on the Cutty Sark behind having to catch the boat back.

    Not sure what you are using for transportation when you go but we had the Hop On Hop Off bus for our Tower of London and Tower Bridge day and it took forever. There is a stop right by our hotel near the London Eye and from there to the Tower it took about an hour. Coming back we picked it up where we were dropped off which is the rest of that route which took about the same amount of time possibly even a little longer to and certain of the colored routes have early last bus times. We are supposed to be on it tomorrow for a different route but we have to get on one and change and we are thinking of just taking cabs instead to get to Madame Tussaud’s, London Zoo, and Kensington Palacr.
    Great! Thank you for the details about the Tower.

    We are planning to take a boat to Greenwich, too. Planning on using the London Pass for that ride if possible. We definitely want to see the Prime Meridian, the Cutty Sark, and the Royal Observatory. We also want to eat at the Golden Chippy. And someone recommended the market, but I don't know if that's a daily thing or not. Sounds like we need to plan a full day over there.

    If we do the HOHO tour, we will likely take it when we have no need to be somewhere at a specific time. Yours is not the first report I've heard of it taking forever to get anywhere while on the HOHO tour. We plan to walk or take the tube for the majority of our transport needs.

    The zoo is on our list, too. We plan to combine that with a complete day of park visits. Our daughter wants to spend her birthday at the zoo and in the parks. Maybe we'll include a canal boat ride while we're in the Regent's Park area. Hopefully we have nice weather that day! I'd love to hear how your zoo day goes. Are you doing tea at The Orangery when you visit Kensington Palace? If so, would love to hear about that, too.
     
  • Twilight Sparkle

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 24, 2015
    We had another wonderful day in London spent at Madame Tussaud’s, the London Zoo, and Kensington Palace. Tomorrow we take the train to Paris for 5 nights including time at DLP before returning to London for another 4 days.
    Have fun in Paris and especially at DLP!!!
     

    CynBeth

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 17, 2011
    The zoo was not huge and easy to walk around. In the Reptile House at the end is a sign showing where a scene in the first Harry Potter movie was filmed. Unfortunately my DH and DM have food allergies so can’t do afternoon tea. We were surprised the cafe at Kensington Palace had a dairy free dessert available.
     

    CynBeth

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 17, 2011
    We are back in London. Paris was great and we loved DLP! Today we went to the Royal Mews and Harrods. We had dinner there and then dessert at the ice cream parlor. Luckily they had sorbet for my DH. They have these ice cream creations that would be a big hit with families. Tomorrow is our Harry Potter day. We get driven around London to see different things in the movies such as King’s Cross and then go to the WB Studios.
     
  • CynBeth

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 17, 2011
    On Wednesday we were on a Harry Potter tour along with going to the WB Studios and it was wonderful! Yesterday we went to
    Hampton Court Palace and Windsor Castle. Unfortunately this is our last day. We will be seeing the Changing of the Guard and going to the Churchill War Rooms and Westminster Abbey. Will also try to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum and The View from the Shard and dinner at Piccadilly Circus.
     

    dancergirlsmom

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 27, 2011
    I have spent quite a lot of time in London and a walk that we always do when visiting and that I recommend to friends that are visiting starts with getting the tube to Green Park. Walk along Queen's Walk through Green Park toward Buckingham Palace. You will pass Clarence House and St. James Palace along the way. When you get to the end of the path you will be at The Mall and you will see Buckingham Palace on the right. If you have an interest in the Royal coaches/carriages etc. The Royal Mews is just around the corner from Buckingham Palace. It is the street to the left of the Palace. There is a cost but they are beautiful. If no interest in the Mews either walk through St. James Park or along Birdcage Walk toward The Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. After looking around there take Whitehall toward Trafalgar Square. Along the route you will pass Horse Guards Parade where the guards are on their horses, this is also the location where every year in June the Queen's official birthday is celebrated with Trooping the Colour. You will also pass the Banqueting House on the right. You can also go in here. This is the location where Charles I was beheaded. In addition, you will pass the war memorial where wreaths are laid every year for Remembrance Day and 10 Downing Street (home of the Prime Minister). When I was younger we used to be able to just walk up to it and catch the Prime Minister coming out. Today you have to look at it from behind barriers etc. As you continue the walk you will come to Trafalgar Square. At this point you can either finish the walk, head toward Picadilly Circus and up Regent Street to Oxford Street (Main shopping areas) or visit the National Art Museum and Portrait Gallery. As others have said the Tubes are very easy to use. As others have said Windsor Castle is a great trip on the train from London. Hampton Court is also another beautiful place that you can take a train to just outside of London. It is famous for being the home of Henry VIII. If you order tickets for a show, I have actually ordered tickets on line from Ticketmaster in the UK and picked them up at willcall. Have a wonderful trip. Hoping to go back myself next summer.
     

    CynBeth

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 17, 2011
    Unfortunately we are flying home later today. A tip for the Changing of the Guard to get there at least an hour beforehand if not an hour and a half and to go up the statue steps on the side you are facing the palace and stand there where it is elevated so you have a pretty good view of the 2 groups that comes from the left in the park and the festivities behind the gate in the center but try to make sure one of the statues around is not in your way. Once it starts around 11 am it lasts about 40 minutes. They only do this on certain days now it is not every day. We are glad we went to the Churchill War Rooms and had timed tickets as they only let a certain number in every so often. We did not feel like we were underground at all in case anyone has a concern. We really enjoyed Westminster Abbey. Glad we did the audio tour and had the timed ticket. We spent an hour at the Victoria and Albert Museum which is free. At that point everyone was tired and It is huge. We had dinner at Angus Steakhouse in Piccadilly Circus which was wonderful.
     

    Wakey

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 22, 2015
    Go up the Skygarden. It’s free and the best views in London. One of my offices is near the top of the building. Book it online, not only the garden but bars and restaurants up there. If you wish to eat up there the Brasserie is the best one.

    And remember, London is totally different to the rest of the U.K.
     

    jf256

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 20, 2018
    It really depends on what you are into.

    If you are going for 4 days then you can actually do things realtively inexpensively and still have an amazing time.

    The British Museum, Tate, National Portrait galleries etc are all free.

    Grab an oyster card and use UBER at night. Do not use the night buses late at night they are full of drunks and gangsta wannabes.

    Standing tickets at the globe are also only £5.

    Use wetherspoons if you want a drink they are housed in some pretty buildings.

    I would do loads of free stuff and save your money for one of the more unique experiences and a few nice dinners.

    Use the timeout website and visit london website there will be loads of info.


    Have a great trip
     

    ronandannette

    I gave myself this tag and I "Like" myself too!
    Joined
    May 4, 2006
    Go up the Skygarden. It’s free and the best views in London. One of my offices is near the top of the building. Book it online, not only the garden but bars and restaurants up there. If you wish to eat up there the Brasserie is the best one.

    And remember, London is totally different to the rest of the U.K.
    I am greatly appreciating this thread as we're in the planning stages of our first visit. We'll be in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Guernsey and Ireland next spring including a few days in London. Please tell me what you mean buy the bolded?
    :thanks:
     

    Wakey

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 22, 2015
    I am greatly appreciating this thread as we're in the planning stages of our first visit. We'll be in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Guernsey and Ireland next spring including a few days in London. Please tell me what you mean buy the bolded?
    :thanks:
    London is like a different planet compared to much of the rest of the U.K. it has a very different feel, is massively more busy, masses of tourists as you’d expect and thousands of people mulling about, everywhere. It’s also a young place, as you’ll notice when you get there. I like London, I work there and stay there very regularly and like to walk the City and discover new areas when there (I walked 35000 steps around London on Wednesday evening). But go elsewhere if you can as well, as London isn’t the U.K. l am very glad to see you are travelling around.

    Another tip, if you have a contactless credit card or Apple Pay or Google Pay on your phone, don’t bother buying an Oyster card, just use the contactless reader on all gates on the underground- cheapest way to travel, just touch in, then touch out other end. The Underground is quite superior to the subways in USA, cleaner and better technology. But of you are physically up to it, walk. You can walk everywhere and you will get a much better understanding/ appreciation compared to using the Subway.
     
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    ronandannette

    I gave myself this tag and I "Like" myself too!
    Joined
    May 4, 2006
    Why not Wales?☹
    I would have loved to; we're taking a cruise that doesn't port in Wales. It's our 25th Anniversary and will be a special trip for us. We're from Canada (Calgary, Alberta) and the entire goal (originally) was to get to Tobermory in Scotland so my husband could see his ancestral homeland of Calgary Bay on Mull. That's not happening either because the only itinerary we could find that stopped there did not also stop in Edinburgh and a round of golf at St. Andrew's quickly trumped finding his roots. :laughing:
     


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