London Tips for Travelers: Trip Itinerary

 

london series- trip itinerary

London Tips for Travelers Part 2: Trip Itinerary

Did you catch part 1?  Check out Part 1 for helpful apps, our favorite area, favorite restaurants, and favorite museum.

So as my sister and I were planning our trip, we were counting on being able to find a quick and easy itinerary of things to do divided by area online.  All we could find were big bus tour schedules, those big huge travel group schedules, suggestions of places to go, and restaurant reviews.  But we’re just 2 girls trying to navigate the city of London on our own!!  Help a sistah out!  The hardest part was figuring out what was in walking distance of the same tube station so that we could plan out our days.  Hopefully someone in need of the same thing finds this handy London Trip Itinerary!

Day 1- Westminster We arrived in the evening and took the tube to Westminster station.  You must go here first!  We walked out of the tube station and said “This is LONDON!” Here you will find Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and you can walk across the bridge to South Bank.  Read all about it and see pictures HERE.

Parliament

Day 2-Kensington Palace, The Orangery, Greene Park: Take the tube to the High Street Kensington station.  Here you will find great shopping, a wonderful Whole Foods, and fun stores like TK Maxx (British version of our TJ Maxx!).  Take a right out of the station and walk a few blocks.  On your left you will see one of the entrances to Kensington Park!  If you want to go to high tea at Queen Anne’s Orangery, you need to be in line by 2:00.  I will warn you… it’s almost 40 American dollars but worth it for the experience.

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Orangery

I love this picture of my cute sister!

orangery

Kensington Palace is right next to The Orangery.  It has a delightful little café if you opt to eat there instead.  Kensington Palace is 16 pounds unless you purchase the Historical Places card.  (We used our friend’s, but it is a great deal if you are going to visit at least a couple of the places on the list!) DSC02791

The corridor leading up to the “Queen’s Quarters”..  We adored Kensington Palace.

{Also on this day, you could also walk through Greene Park and Hyde Park and take a stroll by Buckingham Palace if your stay in London is short.  We came back to both parks when we were wearing tennis shoes so that we could get some exercise and also plan our day around getting to see the changing of the guard (time of day varies).}

Instead, we took the tube to Oxford Circus.  We walked around Oxford Circus to Picadilly Circus, Soho, Chinatown, and Trafalgar Square to get a feel for the area.  We ate dinner in Chinatown at the end of the day!

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Shopping near Oxford Circus

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Hanging out on Trafalgar Square

Day 3: National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery, and Covent Garden

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The National Portrait Gallery

You can find the galleries (free entry!) at Trafalgar Square.  The nearest tube station is Charing Cross.  Covent Garden is just a short ride away.  Covent Garden Market has unique stores and restaurants, but there are brand-name stores in the area as well and it is also by West End.  We went to Covent Garden twice on our trip.  Mostly because I got the dates of the tickets messed up inside my head- London’s calendar looks different, okay?  We got dressed up on the wrong night and traveled across the city and into Cambridge Theater on the wrong night…. then had to come back the very next night in the same clothes.  That happened.  My fault.  My sister is probably still mad. Ha!

Matilda

(West End is the British version of our Broadway.)  We had tickets to Matilda- it was FABULOUS enough to make up for my tickets blunder :)

Day 4: Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Borough Market

Take the tube to Tower Hill station.  Our advice is don’t plan this day trip for the weekend.  We went on a Saturday and it was CROWDED!  There’s a great little café called “The Kitchen @ Tower” off the beaten path.  We loved the colors!  Here’s Beth waiting on her food.

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You could spend all day at the Tower of London!  You can feel the history everywhere.  (The Crown Jewels are also there, but that costs extra to see!)

Tower of London

Then walk across the Tower Bridge to the other side of Thames River.  You would think all this would be near Big Ben and Westminster, but it is quite a hike across London to this area!

Tower Bridge

It’s not a far walk across the bridge to Borough Market, but if you would rather take the tube your destination will be London Bridge.  Borough Market is a fresh farmers market on steroids.  It was beautiful and unreal.  If you go shortly before they close, you will get twice as many samples and better prices!

Day 5: Greenwich Day Trip (pronounced: Gren-itch)

This was such a fun (and cold) day!  We took the DLR to Greenwich for the day with Carly.  The National Maritime Museum, Queen’s House, and several markets are in Greenwich.

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Hardy's Candy Shop

Greenwich

Flea marketing at Clock Tower Market in Greenwich

Day 6: Buckingham Palace, Green Park, Hyde Park, and BRICK LANE

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Buckingham Palace

Experiencing the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace!

trip itinerary

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You’ll see this on the stroll from Green Park to Hyde Park.

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Hyde Park

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Day 7: BRICK LANE  Take the DLR to Shoreditch.  Go thrifting.  Eat Thai food and beigels.  It’s so much better than it sounds.  Read about it in my favorites post: HERE.

Brick lane food

Day 8: Parliament, Churchill War Rooms, Go to Kings Cross Station on the way to dinner in Camden Town (sushi!)

(Go to Westminster Tube Station)  Carly’s boyfriend interned at Parliament this summer so he was sweet enough to give Bethanie and I a private tour.  We had to have a special badge and got to eat in a Parliament-workers only restaurant.  It was really cool to see “behind the scenes”, especially because they were in session that day!  The picture below is just one of my favorite pictures- this sophisticated Birtish man crossed the road by us at the crosswalk in front of Parliament.  He just had an air of class!

British Man

Parliament

Westminster Palace

Most of our tour was a no-photo zone, but I love this one.  We stood where royalty stood.  King Henry gave speeches from this same spot!  Parliament used to be Westminster Palace, so the main rooms are spectacular.

churchill war rooms

Churchill War Rooms is just a short walk down the road from Parliament.  Read more about Churchill War Rooms in my favorites post here. (It was my favorite museum!)

Platform 9 3/4

Ironically, we only had a connection at the giant Kings Cross Station once.  So we took the opportunity to search for platform 9 3/4!

Which brings me to….

Day 9: Harry Potter Studio Tour

You have to schedule your Harry Potter Studio tickets in advance.  Read the guidelines on the main website about times.  It took us about an hour and a half to get there.  We took the National Rail there, but did not buy separate tickets.  We bought a zones 1-7 day pass for 11 pounds, which was much cheaper than buying just 1 roundtrip ticket to our destination.  If you are a Harry Potter fan, be jealous.  If you’re not a Harry Potter fan, well… just scroll down then.

Harry Potter Bus

This day trip is totally worth it, even if you aren’t in London long.  Our tickets were about 55 American dollars, but it was phenomenal.  It all began with boarding this bad boy.

Harry Potter Studio

Hogwarts Gates

harry potter studio

Go through the Great Hall, hang out in Dumbledore’s office, get your picture on an airborne broom in Hogwarts robes, take a stroll along Privet Drive, hop in the flying car, drink some yummy Butter Beer… I could go on… Well done Warner Bros!!

Day 10: London Eye, Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, Millenium Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral

Take the tube to Waterloo station and walk to the London Eye.  (The London Eye would be amazing at night in the dark, but in the summer it doesn’t get dark enough before it closes.)

London Eye

 View from the Eye (About 30 American dollars… worth it though!)

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Shakespeare's Globe

If you walk down South Bank for about 20 minutes, you will see Tate Modern (free entrance) and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater (14 pounds).

Shakespeare's Globe

We did not go to a play, but toured the theater.  Shakespeare’s Globe (not the original, but still really cool) is the first wooden building in London since the fire of London 200 years ago.  It was an international project to build this theater.  Beth is a theater-education major, so she really enjoyed the history behind the theater!

St. Paul's

From there, we walked across Millennium Bridge then to St. Paul’s Cathedral.  There was a wedding going on and the tour was 18 pounds, so we didn’t take the tour but we did go inside to look around and go into a prayer room.  Mass services are open to the public for free though!

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What would be your first stop on a London trip?  If you’ve been before, what were some of your favorites?

Comments

    • Dory says

      Thank you so much for all of the recommendations and pictures. You and your sister looked like you had a lot of fun. I am going to London, but I will only be there for a very short time before I board a train and head to Paris. But I will definitely have to go on the Harry Potter tour because I am big fan. I am so jealous that you had all of that time and I won’t have as much. But oh well, this will just give me an excuse to go back. Thanks a gain for a ll of the tips.

  1. says

    You and your sister are beautiful. What fun it must have been to spend this time together. I was in London for a couple of days on the way to a cruise. I saw some of the same things, but there’s still so much more to see. Spending a couple of weeks in England is definitely on my bucket list. Great photography!

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