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Old 12-13-2015, 04:24 PM   #21
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There is a website, I believe it is called VisitLondon, where you can prebook all manner of things.
I would suggest getting Oyster cards to use on the buses and tube. The London Eye is great for the views, but one of the funnest things we did was take a jet boat down the Thames.
I like the idea of a boat ride down the Thames!
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Old 12-13-2015, 04:27 PM   #22
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I see this is actually called the Churchill War Rooms and is included in the London Pass.. I see they have a sale on the passes until December 15....20% off at the London Pass site..
Yes, the discount is less for other passes - 20% for the 10 day pass, 10% for the 3 day pass, but since they are pretty spendy for 4 adults and 2 kids, we will buy them ahead of time with the discount. They seem to run the discounts pretty regularly.
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Old 12-13-2015, 04:30 PM   #23
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Thank you for this thread. I will be in Europe for six months next year. I like the suggestion about the war museum, I might not have thought about it. My husband is a word war 2 buff.
But regarding Stonehenge, I would skip it, my family driven past this place multiple time and always had a good laugh why people want to see this place. Maybe one day we will go there but it's not in the plan.


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Old 12-13-2015, 04:31 PM   #24
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For the boat ride -we took a ferry boat to Greenwich Observatory, then took the train back. That was a cool day - and the museum appealed to the nerd in all of my family (we are definitely a nerdy family).
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Old 12-13-2015, 04:31 PM   #25
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In my case, it was only a 4 or 5 day visit so the 7-day made no sense at all. I loaded up 20 and still have left over credit.

But it will depend on where you stay, how far you intend to travel, etc. since they charge by zones. For central London with the usual attractions, the lowest fares good for zones 1-2 should be enough.

Otherwise, this page has a good chart on the difference:

https://visitorshop.tfl.gov.uk/help/ticket-comparison/

And this one shows you the daily caps, which may allow you to plan a lot of travel on one day but then on some other days, when you don't travel as much, you don't use the credit.

https://www.londontoolkit.com/briefi...ard_oyster.htm

I also liked to take the bus a lot because you see the city more. Of course that means the potential for traffic jams, certainly not as fast as the Tube when you're going for a trip of more than 2 or 3 Tube stops.

Buses are a bit cheaper IIRC.

Also, indispensable is to have a smart phone with data. I am on T-Mobile which gives unlimited roaming overseas at a slow speed. However, it will still work with Google Maps, checking email, doing some light browsing.

So I use an app. called Citymapper on the iPhone and it will use your GPS location and all you do is search for your destination and it'll tell you the next bus, where the stop is and so on. Or tell you how far to walk to the nearest Tube station to get you on the train to your destination.

You can print out bus schedules or use the TFL Journey Planner web site which will also tell you how to get from point A to B and list all the options. But I like the interface of the Citymapper app.
Thanks for those links regarding the Oyster Card/Travel Card.

We also have T-Mobile and found having a data plan to be really helpful. I will look into the Citymapper app - thanks for the suggestion! It wound probably be good to use both buses and the tubes so the kids can get some experience with both.
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Old 12-13-2015, 04:32 PM   #26
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Used the 3-day London pass in October. If used correctly you save lots of money. It is discounted frequently, which can save you another 10% or 20%, and it lets you skip the lines most places. Buy it with the Oyster card option. London Eye is not included, and is expensive, but what a great view! We did that at night, which I highly recommend.

If the 14 and 12 year olds involved are Harry Potter fans, then take the train out to the Warner Bros studio where the movies were filmed. It is excellent! Our girls thought that was the highlight of the trip.

Be advised that spending a week in London will make any other city on the planet seem inexpensive.

As far as getting around, stick with the tube. Traffic in London is horrible, so buses could slower than walking. Trains in the Underground/Overground run every 3-5 minutes most of the day.
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Old 12-13-2015, 05:02 PM   #27
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Thanks for those links regarding the Oyster Card/Travel Card.

We also have T-Mobile and found having a data plan to be really helpful. I will look into the Citymapper app - thanks for the suggestion! It wound probably be good to use both buses and the tubes so the kids can get some experience with both.
We used the google maps app on the smart phone for bus/tube directions/times. It works very well. The kids liked riding in the upper deck of the public buses.
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Old 12-13-2015, 05:32 PM   #28
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Thank you for this thread. I will be in Europe for six months next year. I like the suggestion about the war museum, I might not have thought about it. My husband is a word war 2 buff.
My wife and I would also like to go for an extended time, but our U.S passports don't allow us to stay any longer than 90 days at a time--due to the Schengen Agreement. Getting a Eurozone visa approved for a retiree is virtually impossible.
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1 week in London next April - seeking suggestions
Old 12-13-2015, 05:50 PM   #29
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1 week in London next April - seeking suggestions

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My wife and I would also like to go for an extended time, but our U.S passports don't allow us to stay any longer than 90 days at a time--due to the Schengen Agreement. Getting a Eurozone visa approved for a retiree is virtually impossible.

Are you US citizen? I'm not aware of any visa thing for US citizen, but I still have time to apply.
EDIT to add, thank you for your comment. I did some googling, as a US citizen, I don't need a visa to UK if I stay less than 6 months. My flight is in and out of London. I will fly to other European place from there.

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Old 12-13-2015, 09:05 PM   #30
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When we took the kids to England, we spent a couple of days in London then rented a car and drove to Bath. It was a great place to stay - a nice contrast to London. It also made a great base for visiting Stonehenge and Warwick Castle (surprising fun).

A lot depends on if the kids would rather spend extra time in the British Museum or exploring the countryside.
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Old 12-13-2015, 09:19 PM   #31
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I only did a day trip to Bath (beautiful Welsh countryside in the distance) but they have a very commercialized shopping district now, with things like Gap and other US chain stores.

This was a couple of years ago.

Certainly the old buildings with the baths are charming but ah well, guess it's a tourist magnet so they put in the shopping amenities.
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Old 12-14-2015, 09:00 AM   #32
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Following with interest

This is a timely post. DW and I plan on heading to London next May.
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Old 12-14-2015, 09:11 AM   #33
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Old 12-14-2015, 10:05 AM   #34
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YMMV, but I have traveled with family and 2 weeks of constant togetherness during all the awake hours doesn't really work for all of us. There are some teenagers in my DSis's family and so we always build in a little "do your own thing time" into the schedule. If you are paying for everything(which is so generous of you) your brother might hesitate to tell you this. In fact we have planned multi-3 family trips with teens and we all say up front, "Everything is optional and if you want to do something on your own feel free to do so and no one will mind."

If your brother is watching his pennies in London they might like the original "Foyle's" bookstore or the flagship Virgin record store. Teenagers are late to bed and late to rise, that's just the way they are built, plus throw in a little jet lag. You could always leave your apartment separately and agree to meet up at a museum at a certain time.If I were in your shoes I would begin the early planning with this premise. Obviously your brother and his family don't travel much and it's such a simple thing to offer someone a little independent time on a trip. At the end of the day it's really about family being together and not really if you all make it to every museum. I used to get caught up in the excitement of planning lots of fun stuff on family trips until I realized the teens and I had pretty different schedules, by 10PM I was wasted and they were just getting their 2nd wind and raring to go.

When wandering London, we always found lunch to be a problem. The restaurants are expensive and pretty slow so eat up a lot of your time. Pubs can be an option. We found taking food along doesn't work to well as you need to find a quiet place to eat. We ended up going into the major store chains M and S, Harrods, Selfridges and eating in their food court area. It's quicker and quite a bit cheaper. Also it's amazing how few bathrooms you run across, some places you'd be certain you could find a bathroom, you'd hear either No, we don't have one or it's for staff only.
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Old 12-14-2015, 10:28 AM   #35
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We did 9 weeks with our kids this past summer. I agree you need to build in some time NOT with everyone else. In our case, we did some divide and conquer (I'd go on an outing with one kid, DH would go with another.)

I see you're renting an apartment - that's good - it will give you some space you don't get in a hotel room.

And build in some veg/down time. For us, since it was summer, it was beach time when we were on the Mediterranean, and in London it was hang out in a park, renting bikes, chilling watching geese on the lake. Too much go-go-go tends to stress a group out.
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Old 12-14-2015, 10:44 AM   #36
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I worked a lot in London and was occasionally there for weekends.

I enjoyed the boat tour up the Thames... has a luke-warm beer and enjoyed the commentary. I also went to Wimbledon for a day when the tournament was in progress, but I see they have a museum and tours as well and that might be interesting if your family has any interest in sports.

I also liked just walking around Covent Garden, Leicester Square and Trafalger Square. I stayed near Charing Cross Station and would occasionally pop into the National Gallery for an hour or so.
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Old 12-14-2015, 02:19 PM   #37
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Thank you so much everyone for all these thoughtful posts!
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Old 12-14-2015, 02:49 PM   #38
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YMMV, but I have traveled with family and 2 weeks of constant togetherness during all the awake hours doesn't really work for all of us. There are some teenagers in my DSis's family and so we always build in a little "do your own thing time" into the schedule. If you are paying for everything(which is so generous of you) your brother might hesitate to tell you this. In fact we have planned multi-3 family trips with teens and we all say up front, "Everything is optional and if you want to do something on your own feel free to do so and no one will mind."

If your brother is watching his pennies in London they might like the original "Foyle's" bookstore or the flagship Virgin record store. Teenagers are late to bed and late to rise, that's just the way they are built, plus throw in a little jet lag. You could always leave your apartment separately and agree to meet up at a museum at a certain time.If I were in your shoes I would begin the early planning with this premise. Obviously your brother and his family don't travel much and it's such a simple thing to offer someone a little independent time on a trip. At the end of the day it's really about family being together and not really if you all make it to every museum. I used to get caught up in the excitement of planning lots of fun stuff on family trips until I realized the teens and I had pretty different schedules, by 10PM I was wasted and they were just getting their 2nd wind and raring to go.

When wandering London, we always found lunch to be a problem. The restaurants are expensive and pretty slow so eat up a lot of your time. Pubs can be an option. We found taking food along doesn't work to well as you need to find a quiet place to eat. We ended up going into the major store chains M and S, Harrods, Selfridges and eating in their food court area. It's quicker and quite a bit cheaper. Also it's amazing how few bathrooms you run across, some places you'd be certain you could find a bathroom, you'd hear either No, we don't have one or it's for staff only.
These are excellent points. I absolutely adore my brother and above all I want this trip to be a good experience for all of us. My plan is put together this itinerary as suggestions to help all of us make sure we get to see what we are most interested in. I am trying to control my "bossy big sister" urges
and letting them know that we don't all have to go the same places together at all times. I think I will borrow your disclaimer.

Other than the flights to and from Europe, which my brother used miles for, we are picking up the costs of the trip. We anticipate some pushback from them, because we come from a family of moocher-types, and my brother has gone to the opposite extreme and has a hard time accepting any gifts. That is definitely going to be a challenge in a city as expensive as London, so whenever possible we are prepaying for things that make sense. I have told him that the second leg of our trip in Berlin will feel like a bargain.

I like the idea of the food courts in the department stores, I was thinking about eating at Harrods while we visit, but will definitely keep the other places in mind.
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Old 12-14-2015, 02:57 PM   #39
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Be advised that spending a week in London will make any other city on the planet seem inexpensive.
Boy, isn't that the truth! Another reason why my favorite city to visit is Munich! My secret agenda is that if this trip goes well I might be able to talk them into another one- but this time on the continent.
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Old 12-14-2015, 03:13 PM   #40
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Harrodsburg food isn't cheap at all.

Marks and Spencer, Waitrose.
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