Scotland and Great Britain Questions

Would love to know the sites that this tour will see in London.

I am traveling on the September 2, 2017 tour and have an extra day in London. Want to set up some extra tours, but do not want to overlap.

Can someone share, if you have taken this tour before.

Comments

  • We were on this tour last year. In London there was a drive around tour and we did also have a guide for St Paul's Cathedral (which was very worthwhile). Lots of things to choose from in London. St Paul's is fairly close to the Tower of London (walking distance) and you could consider going there afterwards.
  • I recommend getting tickets on line in advance for the Tower.
  • Thanks, for response to my question. Very helpful.
  • September should still be quite busy. Do a bit of Google research and buy tickets early- not just for the Tower- but for anything else you think you might want to see- the Eye, Churchill War Rooms, etc., etc. If you only want to see one thing, you can easily spend an entire day (or more!) at the fabulous British Museum- free like the Smithsonian in the US. With only one day and distances involved, I would not buy one of the ticket or ticket and transportation packages available.
  • First off it sounds like the main attraction your tour will see in St Paul's Cathedral - in other words a guided tour inside not just a drive by. So that leaves plenty to chose from.

    Second, I'm a bit of an over-organizer and normally would agree with the buy ahead of time recommendations, but we just finished the Scotland Wales England tour with our final days in London (Jul 6-7th) and had the following experience:

    On the 6th (a Thursday) we had the standard drive by bus tour of London with the group and when we got to the Tower, the TD allowed anyone who wanted to to get off and go see the Tower. We made a split second decision and got off the bus. Walked right up to the ticket booth with zero wait and bought 2 tickets (fyi - they have a senior rate for those 60+ that was about 22 pounds which is not offered on line). We joined a Beefeater tour that was just starting. It was very crowded so you needed to be where you could hear him. The wait to see the crown jewels was about 25 minutes though most of that was inside in an air conditioned corridor with interesting audio-video displays. I toured the tower about 20 years ago and the crown jewels part was not all that well done. It has been vastly improved.

    On Friday the 7th we took a spin on the London Eye. The hotel's concierge got us online Fast Track tickets the day before - we could go any time that day and jump into the Fast Track line - MUCH shorter than the standard. The only thing that slowed us down was you have to take the printout to a special counter inside the bldg at the Eye where they sell tickets. They'll give you the actual ticket that lets you into the Fast Track line. A customer in front of us had bought theirs online but not printed it out. They were told to go somewhere else to print it out before they could stand in this line again to get tickets.

    Others on our tour did the Churchill's war room. They got there about 11-11:30 and had little wait, but when they came out the line was very long.

    The problem with buying tickets too far ahead is you don't always know for sure what you want to do. We wanted to ride the Eye, but didn't if it was a rainy/overcast day. Couldn't tell that until the day before.
  • edited July 2017
    Good point about the weather- a real crap shoot if you plan on an outdoor activity. Since we were doing the Eye the first afternoon in London (after the morning visit to Windsor) we reserved tickets online. I didn't want to rely on the hotel business center printer- as it turned out the one at the Royal Horse Guards where the tour stayed in 2013 didn't work.

    Like I suggested in a post a few years ago (and being a bit of an organizer like Claudia- my wife calls it OCD :C) ) the way I would approach this is to make a prioritized list of things and places you would like to see, then plot their locations on a map of London. Then decide how long you want to visit each. Finally, use Google Maps to figure out how far and how long it will take to get from place to place (via taxi, tube, walking). Unfortunately, you may be surprised how few things you can see in a day.

    I guess the bottom line is to do your homework and have s flexible plan with alternates ready so you don't waste time trying to figure out what to do, where to go, and how to get there once you arrive in London. This was our first Tauck tour, we are getting ready to start #8.
  • The Tower is a great choice. Another great choice would be Westminster Abbey. For an additional charge (I believe 5 pounds) you can have a tour by a verger. Times of the tours vary. Something I love to do in London is take the London Walks walking tours. You don't need any reservations. You meet up at a tube station (outside the station), pay the guide in cash (currently, according to the website, 10 pounds or 8 pounds for 65+), walk for 1 1/2 - 2 hours and learn a lot. They offer several different tours every morning and afternoon. They also offer evening tours, such as pub crawls and Jack the Ripper haunts. Many times I've done one walk in the morning and another in the afternoon (never at night). You can get a schedule of the daily walks on the website, which is www.walks.com. I have no connection to them except as a very satisfied customer.
  • I find the best thing to do is get a good guidebook or find a large list of sites in London, use the internet, read through them, decide on your priority list, get an idea from the information given on how long the average person spends at the place and decide where you are on the scale. For example, in museums, I take longer than my husband to get around it. When I am with different friends, I realize I am probably bang in the middle, some friends take forever. Then check for days when your top choice is open, you don't want to turn up on a day it is closed. take into consideration where your hotel is and how you will get to, and how long it will take you. I may be in London for a few days in October, I will have planned realistic expectations of what I might get to see then, with a plan B or two of there is bad weather so I might have an indoor alternative. Then I am going in April and will do the same. I will also check what is showing in the theater and book tickets for shows too. It takes several weeks to see London attractions, there are so many.
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