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Old 07-07-2008, 08:02 AM   #1
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London

My father will be retiring soon, and he wants to travel right after getting his retirement pay. He wants to see Europe. Can anyone here give us suggestions, guides, comments regarding London? I think it's where he plans to go first. Thnx.
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:45 AM   #2
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London is easy to navigate with the subway (aka Tube) or busses. But look into a day tour to Stonehenge and Bath. In London i enjoyed walking around the Abbey and the Tower of London.
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London: A busy, pricey, historic town
Old 07-07-2008, 09:22 AM   #3
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London: A busy, pricey, historic town

My DW and I spent two days in London in late April. Third visit for us over the years. It's pricey (Home of the $8 pint of local beer), crowded, but a fun visit. That said, your father should just consider 3 -4 days in London, with time allocated to other UK spots, and maybe Scotland. A UK trip is certainly worth two weeks, partcularly as he's RETIRED.

Do some research, I suggest Trip Advisor's web site, along with Fodors/Frommers. A reasonable budget for two weeks in UK, with air travel, might be $7500 to $8500.

Have a great trip!
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Old 07-07-2008, 10:04 AM   #4
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London is easy to navigate with the subway (aka Tube) or busses. But look into a day tour to Stonehenge and Bath. In London i enjoyed walking around the Abbey and the Tower of London.
I would not put Stonehenge on my list of to dos..... I lived in London for about a year and never went.. people who did said it was a waste of time.... now, if he is into the occult, maybe it is on the list...

The question is how long will he be there... because with the exchange rate it is expensive... anything you pay $1 here... expect to pay a pound there... hence $2...

To me the museums were great... you can spend a lot of time in the British Museum... if you like modern art, Tate Modern is good... heck, I can't remember the name... but there is one... male name and female name etc... it was good also...

You can do the tourist things... the wax museum (I never did)... the London Eye (twice or three times... can't remember)... some of the cathedrals... visit the open air market (heck, I can't even remember the name!!!)..

As for day trips... Canteberry is good, Bath is also nice...
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Old 07-07-2008, 10:22 AM   #5
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I've spent a lot of time in London over the years, including two times when I lived there for a few months.

Some of my favorites:
The Tower of London
Victoria and Albert Museum ("design" from around the world, including a fantastic costume section)
The National Portrait Gallery for famous portraits of Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth, and so on
Generally absorbing the historical flavor of the city. For Americans, London is an ancient city and it's fascinating to go to stores that have been open since the 18th century, see Roman ruins, etc. If he's in decent shape, London is a great city for walking (but buy a good map!)
Canary Wharf, a newer business district, for a taste of more modern London
A visit to Greenwich to stand on the Prime Meridian

Things to skip:
Changing of the guard--a crowded non-event
Piccadilly Circus--Times Square with a British accent
Buckingham Palace--if he's planning a trip to the continent, there are much more interesting palaces and castles there
Wax museum. I enjoyed it all right as a child, but I can't see getting much out of it as an adult, and there are other wax museums in other places.


I hope he has a wonderful time! London is a fascinating place.
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Old 07-07-2008, 11:57 AM   #6
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We lived in the UK for 5 years, and would have to say that $7500 for a 2 week stay is a lot of money. It can be done for a lot less.

- I don't think Stonehenge is worth the effort. I was so disappointed when I saw it.

- London Eye would be a good thing for a tourist, I did it but didn't like it because of the height thing.

- Westminster Abbey, did this with a guide and got so much more out of it than just doing it on our own.

- I loved the changing of the guards. We lived in Windsor so saw it on a regular basis, and also it is something that is free.

- Take a day trip to Bath and look around the Roman baths.

- Tower of London was fabulous, we also did the guided tour and these guys know how to bring it alive.

London is one of those places that you don't need to join a tour to take you from place to place. The underground is great, though can be crowded at peak hour.

Accommodation, don't forget the B&B's, just make sure you get one with a bathroom attached. It's a good way to save a few dollars plus you get breakfast included.
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Old 07-07-2008, 02:19 PM   #7
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I highly recommend a few of the walking tours. We took the Jack the Ripper walking tour through Whitechapel. It started around 10:00 pm. It was a great tour that we talked about for a long time.

Others
Tower of London
Westminster Abbey
Charles Dickens House
Abbey Road / St Johns Wood (great area for a walk)
River tour along the Themes ending at Greenwich
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Old 07-07-2008, 04:57 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by aworkingrachel View Post
I've spent a lot of time in London over the years, including two times when I lived there for a few months.

Some of my favorites:
The Tower of London
Victoria and Albert Museum ("design" from around the world, including a fantastic costume section)
The National Portrait Gallery for famous portraits of Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth, and so on
Generally absorbing the historical flavor of the city. For Americans, London is an ancient city and it's fascinating to go to stores that have been open since the 18th century, see Roman ruins, etc. If he's in decent shape, London is a great city for walking (but buy a good map!)
Canary Wharf, a newer business district, for a taste of more modern London
A visit to Greenwich to stand on the Prime Meridian

Things to skip:
Changing of the guard--a crowded non-event
Piccadilly Circus--Times Square with a British accent
Buckingham Palace--if he's planning a trip to the continent, there are much more interesting palaces and castles there
Wax museum. I enjoyed it all right as a child, but I can't see getting much out of it as an adult, and there are other wax museums in other places.


I hope he has a wonderful time! London is a fascinating place.
Funny thing is I walked by the Tower of London every day going to work... but never visited...

V&A... yes, this is the one I could not remember... good

Greenwich is good... and you can see the old sailboat... OK... someone else can find the name... but it is famous also...

Some of my memory on what I saw is coming back, but not the names...

Go to Harrods..... a really old store...

Picadilly Circus and Leichester Square is 'OK' if you like crowds are lights and such... a few statues, but not great for someone who can see it all the time.... just like Times Square... it looks impressive the first time you see it... but after about 100 or so.... kind of a waste of energy...

OK... can anyone remember the castle that is south of London I took a short train ride with someone who knew where we were going... and it was a nice day trip...
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:09 PM   #9
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Consider staying in the outlying areas, in local B&B's, and you'll easily save more than half of what it will cost you in the city. Public transport into the city is excellent and inexpensive. So, you can stay twice as long, for the same price. PLUS, the outlying areas are really enjoyable, real-life local communities, that, IMHO, give you much more of a feel for what England is really like than the tourist stuff in the downtown London. Also, don't believe what you've heard about food in England --- the pub food is hard to beat, and some of the most affordable you'll find.

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Old 07-07-2008, 09:16 PM   #10
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I found the Cabinet War Rooms (underground bunkers where Churchill & crew ran the war effort) to be fascinating. I also liked the science and natural history museums (can't remember if that were the exact names but they are next to each other).
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Old 07-08-2008, 03:02 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by DougViages View Post
My DW and I spent two days in London in late April. Third visit for us over the years. It's pricey (Home of the $8 pint of local beer), crowded, but a fun visit. That said, your father should just consider 3 -4 days in London, with time allocated to other UK spots, and maybe Scotland. A UK trip is certainly worth two weeks, partcularly as he's RETIRED.

Do some research, I suggest Trip Advisor's web site, along with Fodors/Frommers. A reasonable budget for two weeks in UK, with air travel, might be $7500 to $8500.

Have a great trip!
$8k back in 1999... for 2 people.

Today... If it is one person, figure about $5k-6k. If it is two $10k-12k. If one is slightly less budget conscious it could be $15k for two. 2 weeks does not allow much time to get situated and organized. One will likely need to rely on organized tours of some sort in that short period of time. Especially if they are going to see scotland and england.

I know couple of people that have done it in the last year... They spent around $12k - 13k... and they did not stay in extravagant hotels.

It is very expensive because of the weak USD.
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Old 07-08-2008, 10:27 AM   #12
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I spent around 8 days in and around London about five years ago. DW had to train her replacement for her job; she was there for 2 weeks, and I tagged along for part of it. Got to stay for free (in Maidenhead), so the whole thing was pretty cheap.

The public transit is good, need to go on the Underground even just to hear, "Mind the Gap". ;-)

There wasn't much I didn't like. I spent 5 days wandering about London by myself, and took weekend trips with DW. I did most of the biggies: Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St. Paul's, Hampton Court Palace, the Globe Theatre. Other, possibly less well-known, things I liked included the Royal Mews, Jewel Tower, HMS Belfast, Wimbledon, Wellington Arch, Banqueting House, Old Operating Theatre & Herb Garret.

For me, the London Pass saved a bunch of money. I went to some things because they were free. I also spent some time just sitting along the south bank of the Thames look across at Parliament.

I, too, was disappointed in Madame Tussaud's. At the time, entry was 30 pounds and I really didn't feel it was remotely worth it.

We also took some day-long bus trips. One was Stonehenge & Bath. Stonehenge wasn't thrilling, but it is one of those things that I think most people would feel incomplete without going to. Bath was cool, but the baths themselves were horribly crowded that day with people who had those tourist audio things stuck to their ears (and were consequently oblivious to everyone else).

Another bus trip was to Bleinheim Palace, Oxford and the Costwolds. We enjoyed that one, and if you're into palaces, Bleinheim is a must-see. Another trip was Canterbury and Dover, which was pretty good.

Definitely a lot to see...
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thanks!
Old 07-09-2008, 01:32 AM   #13
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thanks!

Thanks for the replies! I gather from your answers that the Tower of London is a bit popular. I'll tell him about your answers.
I also found a very helpful London tube map, as some have mentioned about traveling by the tube. I think he would want to do the traveling by different means, so he can get a full London experience. Thanks again for the help.
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Old 07-09-2008, 02:29 PM   #14
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I know couple of people that have done it in the last year... They spent around $12k - 13k... and they did not stay in extravagant hotels.

It is very expensive because of the weak USD.
You guys must live on another planet.
We returned from London yesterday, spent one week there, family of 4 and have not even spent $1000 (less than 500 quid) (This price does not include air tickets).
One piece of advice would be to befriend some locals, who can show you great ways to save money - our gem from this visit is that zoo adult ticket is 17.70 pounds and kids extra, but narrow boat ride from Little Venice to zoo including admission is 16 pounds and kids < 4 free and you don't need to take a bus - just a pleasant walk from Tube.
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Old 07-09-2008, 05:43 PM   #15
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It's been a few years, but I would second Westminster Abbey and the British Museum.
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