I am in London for four days at present. I am with a mixed age group of totally new to travel to very experienced travellers. It's not my first time in London, but it is the first time on my own.
So here are my tips---- do some research before you leave home, of the things you might want to see and do. Some of our group do not appear to have done any. That wastes a lot of time. Just a for instance, Ben Franklin had a house here, several people went to it, did not realize you had to book a tour and they were all sold out for several hours. It's always best to get tickets on line for the Tower of London. They did not, so the more experienced people explained that they must get up early this morning and be there way before opening time and that when they get in, to head for the Crown Jewels or they could be in line for three hours.
Be very very careful when crossing the roads.
Most hotels do not provide wash cloths, so I bought one with me, it was white, my room mate used it. I told everyone they might need to bring one, especially as we are not in the Savoy on the Strand, but in the basic hotel opposite!
There are M and S food to go stores all over, delicious.
Where have I been? Remember I have been before so my choices may seem odd to you. I took a look at the Banqueting house where Tauck had a special dinner. Tour of Westminster Abbey, also St Pauls. Charles Dickens house, loved that. The Tate Modern, awesome building, some very thought provoking art---and a great restaurant on the sixth floor with views of St Pauls. The London Museum, ok but they have a special exhibit on the Fire of London which was well done.
Just going out to see my second show already, boy are theatre tickets cheap compared to Broadway, I paid 19 pounds 50 p last night. Bye


  • All good stuff, British. Having lived there for many years it was so sad when we moved away to have to pay to go back to show our children the important things. Nowadays I hate the place but have to get there from time to time. Maybe it is because I feel so out of place not walking around with ear phones on, looking at the ground with a bottle of water in one hand and a cellphone in the other. I guess that is just an ageing thing.
    Enjoy your stay, London is certainly a wonderful city.
  • Helpful post British. Will remember the theater ticket possibilities next summer while we're there.

    As to your group, I'm always surprised by the people here on this forum who manage the computer skills to log on to the forum but then ask questions like "what sites are there to see in London". I get that some aren't computer literate, but if you've come this far what's so hard about googling "top things to do in London".

    There are so many resources out there to plan a trip. Past posts on this forum, Lonely Planet, Rick Steves, Trip Advisor, etc etc. Tons of youtube videos of different locations to watch. Then there's the old fashion tour guides. I print out the suggested reading list Tauck provides for each tour. Have bought some but also found some in my local library. I also look in thrift stores for older guides. Because it's cheap I have no problem ripping out any pages or maps I want to take with me leaving the rest at home. Times and prices may be different, but the major sites are still pretty much the same.

    I enjoy the whole process of researching where I'm going (especially when I have to wait a year of more before the trip starts) but I guess that's the difference between the "planners" and the "tell me what to look at" travelers.

  • edited August 2016
    I am delighted to say I had an amazing theatre evening tonight. I saw In the Heights at the Kings Cross theatre London, which as far as I understand it, has the stage set over the railway track and the seating on either side of it, so you enter the theater on platform one or two. I was in the front row which is good seating, the actors are at your level and so near you could reach out and touch them if you wanted to. During the day the show The Railway Children is on instead. I highly recommend this unique experience on a free evening. The theatre is a ten pound taxi ride away, quite a walk, if I had not walked miles all day, I would have maybe attempted walking there and getting a taxi back from the main station round the corner from the theater.
  • edited August 2016
    I am at Heathrow airport and I've been thru security and the duty free shopping where I stocked up on Cadburys chocolate and tea by Fortnum and Mason's for my friends. The shopping is fun and extensive. Heathrow is a very busy but highly efficient airport.
    Yesterday, I finally got to visit the Churchill War Rooms that always gets great reviews on this forum. You really need a minimum of three hours to do it any justice. It's about a ten minute walk from the Savoy hotel. There is a good gift shop with some great books. I have purchased so much stuff on this trip, that I had to make do with taking photos of the books so that maybe I can find them on line another time.
    We exited the museum at the back, opposite St.James Park, walked thru partway on the right and at a gate there, we found ourselves opposite Clarence House, the current home of The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. We discovered it is open to the public only on August, so we managed to get the last two tickets on the next tour, about a fifteen minute wait. Apparently it is best to get advance tickets. ( A friend was visiting me for the day) The house was fabulous, the rooms had exquisite decoration and lots of moving personal items and photos of the Royal family. Another nice gift shop. I stocked up on my Royal China collection, yes I am like a packhorse this trip, my carry on is full of Royal plus antique China purchased in York, why I have done this without my husband to help me carry this, I do not know, wait, he would have put a firm foot down and not let me buy it, or make me carry it all myself anyway!
    For those doing the Tauck tour, the Savoy hotel is fabulously placed for many attractions and theaters. I've stayed there before and hope to again sometime. My hotel was directly opposite the Savoy, very small room, no A/c. Clean but too cramped with a room mate. Don't know how much it cost but this was a very cheap trip for our group.
    I hope my independent trip details have been useful for the Tauck tour.
  • My weakness is Portmerion Botanical. Dare I hope they still sell it at the Harrods duty free??

    And Cadburys. What evil genius thought up Cadbury vending machines at subway platforms? Are they still there?

    Glad you had a nice trip.
  • edited August 2016
    You know Claudia, I did not go in The Harrods at the airport, but I am almost 90% positive I passed a store there that did have it on display, it was another fancy chain store. I like The Portmerriom too and have the odd piece. Here is my tip on china, admittedly anything post Brexit may not be true. When I was moving to the US, I went to the Spode 'seconds' store in Stoke on Trent in the 'Potteries' area of the country. I wanted to buy a set of china which I thought might impress my American friends, I was going to use it as everyday china. Wouldn't you know that I soon discovered that I could buy first quality Spode in just about any American chain store like Macy's in the sales cheaper than I bought my seconds in England. Also, Portmerion Botanical can often by found in Homegoods.
    I'm home, laundry is done. I'm taking a break before the ironing. Back to reality.
  • I'll be sure to check prices here before our next trip. When I first started collecting it you could only find it in the UK. And yes, I've seen it at Home Goods, Tuesday Morning and BB&B. Macy's too but they never had prices on things or clerks to help. The military post exchanges used to carry with great prices but haven't seen in awhile.

    In addition to avoiding VAT, the advantage of duty free was I could hand carry after checking bags and not worry about the weight (other than carrying it).

    Reality is over rated.
  • When I took this trip, about 2002, we stayed in Portmerion and everyone bought china directly from the Portmerion store. I don't know if the prices were better. Most people sent their purchases home. I don't know why they don't stay there anymore. It is a cute town.

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