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| p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · What lens to bring to London? And a picture from my hometown. |
Posting the long note/write up to the thread so people can find it in the future. Just my opinions so don't gril me over my choices of what's good to see in London:
The list of sites are not ordered. So it's not like the first one is the best. Read what I say and decide for yourself if you want to go see that.
My suggestion to maximize your 3 days is to chain your sights in order to minimize your travel time. So if you are going to go to Greenwich you might as well go to Tower of London it's in the same direction, etc etc. The tube might seem like the default transport solution but if you get a hang of the buses it could save you some time as switching from one tube line to another can be time consuming and confusing if you are not used to subway travel (my wife and the in laws were so confused and just followed me around like puppies). Still do take the tube once you gota have a tube photos after all!
A note on travel. From the airport you can save hassle by hiring a minicab to pick you up and take you to the hotel (you need to book online before you arrive, lots of option just check the reviews first). Or you can save some pennies and take public transport. Get the Oyster card is worth it but you need to give a deposit for the card. You can get it back when you leave but it will take a fair amount of time for them to process (you need to sign stuff etc) so plan accordingly so you don't miss your departing flight etc. Alternatively you can use a travel card (look on transport for London's website) but the cost saving doesn't exist between travel card and oyster card. There's a london pass thing that covers admission to some locations and I think works as a travel card as well, but generally is agreed by everyone to be a rip off.
When we went on our trip we hit all the sights we wanted to go save for the day trips which we only got to do 1 of. We spend 4 days in London so you should be able to get as much in as we did without the day trip.
Should try to do the river cruise/commuter boat trip to Greenwich and back (or take the DLR back). At Greenwich there's the customary touristy thing of standing on the prime meridian. Which my in laws just had to do. Personally, I would have love to (but they took so long at the Royal observatory that it closed) have seen Nelson's uniform at the maritimes museum at Greenwich instead (bullet hole and all, the blood's not his though). There are also other things to do in Greenwich but I don't know your interest so you can google and see what you like. Naval hospital for example could be worth seeing inside if possible.
Tower of London
It's a must do period. The history is stunning. The crown jewels are here. There's a view of tower bridge (which you can go take a tour of as well). Personally I really recommend people go see the graffiti craved into the walls by some of the tower's prisoners, some died there some were freed. They are in the Beauchamp Tower (instead of the white tower everyone goes to). The white tower itself is ok and must see but it was too crowded cause all the tourists goes there. The other less known things are less crowded and for me more enjoyable.
Often a hit with some people. It's got some history. Some people like to have tea in the orangery. I believe this was Princess Diana's resident. Also where Queen Victoria lived for a while under the "Kensington System". We didn't go here because over all there are more important things to see.
You have to go here if you like history. It's like a who's who of famous dead people (this and St. Paul's). Look up the history and plan your route around the various graves and memorials (some people are not bured there, just have something in their honor). There are the famous people everyone know and there are people that not everyone knows but are still interesting. A latin or french translator app might be helpful to figure out some of the inscription on the tombs. Sucks you can't take photos inside :P. Some evening they do the evensong at a certain time which I hear is worth going to. Go really early or better yet at night to avoid the tourist mobs.
You must have seen the photos. I rate this as a must go (for me anyhow). There's an inscription "Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice" (Reader, if you seek his monument, look around you)" where Christopher Wren (the architect) is buried. And it really sums it up. St Paul's got that something something. It's huge and walking inside was amazing. Plus both Nelson and Wellington are bured here (find them in the basement). Climb to the top if you want something of a view. Well worth the climb I think but it's a few hundred steps.
If history buff you would want to go here. Things like the rosetta stone are here. Personally I preferred the Assyria lion hunt reliefs (take photos for later or get your nose close and marvel at the details). The British was the master of much of the world for a long time so they have tons of stuff here. It can be a whole day or good part of a day just to see everything. If you get tired go have high tea here, it was one of the more reasonably priced high tea offerings in the city.
A lot of important documents can be seen here. Including the Magna Carta which if you are into the whole constitution/charter of rights thing in various countries it's sort of a big deal. Didn't go here due to time constraints.
Go at night for some night photos of the lights. It's close by a bunch of other stuff you might want to see.
Again if you want an iconic photo
Iconic photos as usually. You can get both Parliament and the london eye here. Night time might be more interesting. You can't get into Parliament except for certain times of the year for Tourists (summer) other times you need to be a UK citizen and get your MP to get you a pass. Too bad cause I have seen videos and photos of the actual old Westmister hall and it's amazing and has so much history in it (they trial King Charles and decide to behead him there after all!)
King's cross station
If you are a harry potter fan... lol. We just pass by it to get the euro star to paris.
Following might be harder to do with only 3 days...
A day trip or 1/2 day trip. Windsor castle is interesting. A lot of booty from conquest on display but you aren't allowed photos. The doll house was ok but not my cup of tea. Eton itself is interesting. At the right time of the year you can get a tour of the school itself. The train ride is quick so there's no reason not to go unless you are pressed for time or other things are higher priority
A day trip. Henry V's favorite palace that he took from Thomas Wolsey (who he also later had killed). I never got to go on my trip but it's on my to do list. I know there are various things inside that are suppose to be must sees.
City of Bath and stonehenge
Can be done as a day trip. There are various tour bus companies that does packet tours for these things. City of Bath has the Roman baths (whic BTW is nice to see but it's not really the original bath, what you see is a 1800s remake). This is another day trip I wanted to do but cannot.