It's time for my Insider friends to lend ole Pain a hand. It appears that I have a two week Abu Dhabi trip coming up in the middle of May. I did a little chatting with my travel agent and worked in a 10HR 15M layover at London Heathrow on May 23. I'll be getting into LHR at 6:40AM and depart at 4:55PM.
If we figure an hour to get off the plane, through customs, and into the airport AND wanting to be back at LHR with 2 1/4 HR before departure...that leaves about 7 HRs to see some sights.
Check this out - London Walks "first and best of the walking tour firms" Fodors - lots of flexibility - superb value for money....
Okay this is an interesting "Challenge", but I really think you can do it, and do it right. Here's my thoughts, and they may change after you respond with more information, here are some points:
Am thinking that this is your first trip to London, and you want to do all you can, because you don't know when you will get back?
Likewise, I recommend you send an email to one of London's top Concierges and get a "Local opinion" of what is really feasible, and some idea of "Price"! You should send an email to Nic, at County Hall at,
Nic, a "Consummate Profesional"!
I will personally discuss this situation with him next week, while at the hotel, and advise you. Now, back to your question:
You may have 7 real hours to see as much of London, get photo's and make it back to LHR, so:
Have Nic arrange for a car to pick you up, as you leave customs, you will see a driver with your name, and a car waiting for you. Make sure your luggage is "Checked" all the way thru to Abu Dhabu, either when you depart, or from LHR, prior to departing the airport. You will want to travel only with your "Carry-On's"
Think of your "Priorities" to see, and have that arranged prior to arriving, mine would be, via car:
Sherlock Homes Pub
London County Hall (For a Thank-you to Nic, and a "Pit Stop")
Tower of London
Maybe a quick walk thru a desired section of The British Museum
Time to head back to airport with a drive by Hyde Park and Harrods.
PP, It may take you an hour just to get into the key places in London, and an hour to get back to LHR, but will a driver and car, you can be flexible, and it will get you right to your departing terminal. Make sure you have boarding passes printed and if you can get a "Priority check-in" go for it.
Granted, much of this will be drive by, but I have done something similar in other cities, and yes the cost will be more, but, it is safe, efficient, and a memorable way to experience London.
Good luck, and as/if I can answer questions or share other ideas, it will be my pleasure.
If it were me:
I would take the heathrow express to paddington then bakerloo line to piccadilly circus.
From here I would walk to leicester square, trafalgar square and then covent garden.
Then walk along the strand to somerset house. You can cross waterloo bridge and take a stroll along the south bank past the london eye.
Westminster bridge will then take you back across the river and past the houses of parliament.
From here you can cut across St James's park in front of buckingham palace.
Then you can see the Bomber command memorial in Green Park http://rafbf.org/2052/visit-the-memorial.html
On the way back you could then either go to Hyde Park corner and take the piccadilly line straight to heathrow.
Or you could walk back up piccadilly to piccadilly circus and then go back the same way you came, bakerloo line to paddington then heathrow express.
This route would give you plenty of photo opportunities of the main tourist sites and also plenty of shops, restaurants and pubs.
If you had time it would nice to make it across to Borough market Borough Market | Borough Market which is near London Bridge station.
With the time frame you have i wouldn't be seeing museums unless they were of particular interest. I think it would be more enjoyable walking around and seeing the sights.
There are plenty of options available, but the best way to see it is on foot and see what you please.
You will have time to rest your legs and sleep on the plane to Abu Dhabi.
This is a great plan, but I have one concern:
The transfer to/from LHR to The Paddington Express. The tube transfers for me have always entailed at least a half hour each way, just to get onto the train. That's at least one hour, out of only seven! I would be a "Nervous" wreck, trying to relax and enjoy London, with the uncertainty of getting to my flight on time.
Just my "Worried" opinion.
BTW, hope you can come by CH, next Wed. for another "Chat"!
you worry too much!
the change from the overland train to underground at paddington for the bakerloo line is a short walk.
I change there many times and the bakerloo line trains are very frequent.
Going by car is a risky proposition as you never know what the traffic will be like.
Yes, I do "Worry to much"!
You make a good point about the Express and the Tube. You take the "Traffic factor", and for sure "Lower your costs"!
If a person, "Really knows what they are doing", Express and Tubes are wonderful, I don't know if PP is comfortable finding their way around.
Thanks for the information!
I'd go with the LHR express to Paddington as well. Straight shot into the city and easy transfer to the Tube. I expect this would be the quickest means into the center of the city. On my recent trip to London, the longest point to point travel time was on the streets (by bus). If a Tube stop had been closer to where I needed to go, I'd have chosen that.
For a quick sightseeing trip of the city, stay away from any transportation (expect you own feet) that requires travel by road. Explore your routes in advance so that you know exactly where the transfer points are and you'll move through the city like a local. And don't forget to have fun!
Click on image to enlarge.
A LHR (not shown)
B Paddington Station (not shown)
C Picadilly Circus
D Leicester Square
E Trafalgar Square
F Covent Gardens
G Somerset House
H London Eye
I Big Ben (and Parliament)
J Westminster Abbey (only thing I added)
K Along St. James Park to Buckingham Palace
L Green Park (and the Bomber Command Memorial)
M Marlborough House Gardens
N St. James Square
O Picadilly Circus
Sg, you are the man!
The Tower of London is my very favorite place in London, and since it's the farthest, I'd suggest going there first (easy via the tube though check opening hours). Right across the Thames is the wonderful Southwark Cathedral and Globe Theatre, though it's a fair walk to the next destination. But if you DID walk along the wonderful south bank, it would take you to the London Eye and London County Hall. Then straightaway you could cross the bridge, see Westminster Abbey, go through Trafalgar Square and have a quick meal at Sherlock Holmes' pub before heading back to the airport.
Hello pained one,
I'm not clear about whether this will be your first visit to London. If "yes", I'd follow the suggestions already listed. It was the central London sites that Dr Johnson probably had in mind when he noted that one should "See London and die" - or something along those lines.
If, however, you already "done" these, then you might a trip to Windsor - for the Castle, Chapel, town and even an audience with ER II. It's close to Heathrow, and easily accessible by bus/rail. Another thought would be the Royal Botanical Gardens as Kew, followed by a lunch by the Thames at Richmond. Again, both are easily accessible from HTR and each other.
Wherever you choose, have a good time.
Have never done any of these interesting things. This would make it a lot easier to stay close to LHR. Travel to Central London can be a "Challenge"!
BTW, hope we can get together with more of our London/GB based MRI next Wed. at CH! Totally flexible, but shooting for something after 5 PM?
Wow a very difficult question.
One place that is seldom discussed in many of the forums is “The Wallace Collection” but an absolutely a fantastic collection of art. a must visit in London. If you are a museum person you will love “The Wallace Collection” http://www.whatsfreeinlondon.co.uk/the_wallace_collection_london.html
It’s easy train-ride with HT Express and then max 5 minute taxi to the museum.
How about this? Take the Paddington Express, then take the nearest "Hop on/off Bus" and ride to the Tower of London first. See the "Crown Jewels" and other interesting sights there. Make sure you buy your Tower Tickets ONTHE BUS, ONE stop prior to The Tower!
Do what you need to there and get back on The Big Red Bus and let them take you to all the sights SG mentioned. If you want to get off, do so, and catch the next bus. They usually run every few minutes. Get an "Open Air" Seat on top for the finest pictures!
The price is reasonable, and you will know how much time you need to get back to LHR based on how long it took to get you to Paddington Station. Likewise, don't forget you will have to get thru Security!
Here's the latest!
Discussing you situation with professional Concierges at County Hall, they report:
Prices have gone up on The Paddington Express. I don't know how many people are in your group, but the suggestion was not to go that route.
Nic, lead Concierge, and a member of "The Society of The Golden Keys", (Honored Travel Group), indicates you are more than welcome to contact them with any questions, details, or reservation requests. Again, here's a thought:
Have a car/driver meet you at LHR, take the car to County Hall. Relax for a few minutes, introduce yourself to The Concierge staff, use their facilities and then walk to:
The London Eye
The London Dungeon
The Churchill War Museum
Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace (Check the time for this, I think it is 11AM)
OR, just walk outside the hotel and take the "Big Red Bus" all around London!
Whatever you do, I hope you have a wonderful time. Just wanted to share with you that you already have contacts in London, should you need them, and they know of you and your situation.
I'm a bit late to this thread, but I do know London very well. I worked there for years. I agree with others about travel time from Heathrow. Whether you use the tube or have a car, the same thing applies - allow plenty of time!
I don't know if you have been to London before. Suggestions of where to go would depend very much on whether you have seen any of the sights in the past. But if you haven't, I would counsel against trying to fit too much in. You will go everywhere and see nothing if you are not careful. Jerrycoin's suggestions above are good, because they are all in a relatively small area. Personally, I don't like the Dungeon - but that's just me. The Churchill War Rooms is a terrific museum if you are interested in history. I have been there several times, as there is a lot to take in on one visit.
I also know a very good pub for lunch and a pint of British beer in the area; The Sanctuary House, Tothill Street. The Sanctuary House Hotel - Home
I know it says hotel, but the ground floor pub is separate from the hotel above.
So well stated!
I am not a "Dungeon" fan myself, but on my last stay at County Hall, my room was right above it and it was popular, especially for younger people. I may go this week, but only if this rain continues, and I take my umbrella for a short walk down the steps.
Totally agree with you on trying to do "Too much" in a short period of time. Since he's not seen London before, I would just be cautious about doing tube/train trips. You spend so much time underground and unless you really know what you are doing, you will be "Lost in the masses of humanity"!
Tommo, That "Sanctuary House" sounds like a perfect place to visit and stay for awhile on a day like this!
You're not too late, at all. Thanks for the advice. If that pint is cold, I'm sure it will meet my fancy!
Great cold ones at Harrod's (no kidding - ask jerry)
you can thank me later for cropping my ugly mug
Jerry - great full bodied reds at Gordon's (62.4465 degrees - ha!)
pained - be careful, it's dangerous over there (insert Leslie Nielsen joke)
Have a blast.
Sounds like a lot of fun!
Looking out my window here and thinking of "I'm Henry the 8th, I am, I am"!
Tell the professor to bring the 2bc! She will have it "Chilled" at the right temperature. You cannot have your 2bc, too warm or too cool. It must be served right!
How about, "Mrs. Brown, you have a lovely daughter"! Another great song!
Peter is really a funny guy, I often listen to his Sirius/XM show when driving the vast wastelands between Monterey and Palm Desert, to the chagrin of Missus Anadyr, who would rather be quiet in the car! He is on a 5pm on channel 6 assuming you have the service in your car. Our Yugo has an ad-on but sadly the Isetta does not so we take the "bigger car."
He's kept himself visible throughout the year (VH1, MTV - mostly retrospectives). The Hermits' lyrics are of course no match for the Stones or Beatles, but they did have their very significant niche; including one middle age housewife - my mother, when they appeared on Ed Sullivan my mom said something to the effect, "Now there's a nice looking young man, it's a shame he won't cut his hair "!. My, if hair was our biggest concern these days.
That's funny that you mentioned it"
There was writing on the back of the plate that was written"
Anadyr ate from this plate, and relish it, you are a lucky person!
I would not have even thought about it, if you had not brought it up?
They did not charge me extra, (It was expensive enough!)
Here is yet another option:
I don't know how many people, or what day you are arriving, but consider this, (If you don't try to carry too much with you).
You arrive at LHR Terminal 4,
Get on the Tube at Terminal 4, proceed on Blue Line (Only line there is, so you can't go wrong) to Acton Town,
There change to the "Green Line" going to Upminster,
Ride for 5 stops, get out at Westminster, (This trip should take a little more than an hour)
Go up and out, you will be at the base of "Big Ben",
Walk across the street to Westminster Abbey, do what you want there. (You should be able to see all in an hour or less)
Walk to Churchill War Room, go in if you like, or continue walking to Buckingham Palace, a short walk thru Green Park.
See "Changing of the Guard", and then, (If you are interested in shopping) walk to Harrod's.
From there walk down "Brompton Road" past The Hard Rock Cafe, (Piccadilly Road) (If you want something quick to eat, this may be the place). Continue walking down Piccadilly to Trafalgar Square. You will pass the Ritz and Piccadilly Circus. After passing Trafalgar go down Whitehall Street.
You will pass The Sherlock Homes Pub, on your left.
Continue walking past #10 Downing,
Now depending on how much time you have,
Cross Westminster Bridge, make a short stop at County Hall Marriott, say hello to Concierge,
See London Eye, go up?
Now it should be time to walk back across Westminster Bridge,
Go down the steps and Take the Green Line Back to Acton Town,
Take Blue Line to whatever terminal you need, and you are now on your way.
That's doing it on a budget! You just have to remember to have your luggage checked thru prior to your "Sightseeing"!
This is just one of your "Many options"!
I did a little "Re-Con tonight" for this plan, a couple things that I should point out:
Westminster Abbey, ( I Think?) Opens at 8: 30 AM, I don't think you will be there prior to that time. Likewise, ( I think?) the changing of the guard is at 11:30).
Lastly, The Sherlock Holmes Pub is Not on the same street as #10 Downing. Not far, but I will get these details to you tomorrow!
Hope we get other MRI "Feedback" on this plan, soon!
Have experience doing this, but I no longer take "The Tube", and do not want to give you the wrong information.
I look over my shoulder as I walk around, and have my messages "Scrambled" (Thanks to anadyr). I have been targeted by the old "Smersh Crew" (Agent ?), they are now using a "Front" and that is "Motel 4 1/2! They keep "The water running, when it's below freezing in your room"!
What comfort we have at Marriott!
Will get you more information and details tomorrow!
Overall, good advice, but I would add one caveat. The Tube ride into London will take close to an hour because of all the stops. While it will cost you quite a bit more, the Heathrow Express will get you to Paddington Station in 15 minutes where you can pick up the Bakerloo line into the heart of the city. Overall travel time will be considerably shorter. Since your time is limited, I'd suggest paying the higher fare to get into the city as quickly as possible thus maximizing the time you can use to explore. Everything else jerrycoin says is golden.
I would not want to "waste" and hour each way on the Tube if I only had 10 hours to devote to the city since there is so much to see.
My comments/suggestions below assume that you want to do Jerrycoin's suggested itinerary round Westminster Abbey etc, which would make for an excellent day, and an excellent whistle stop introduction to London.
OK. The tube. If you do decide to get the tube from Heathrow, I wouldn't change trains at Acton Town (sorry Jerrycoin). I would stay on the Picadilly Line (blue) until Gloucester Road, and change there for the District Line (green). The reasons are firstly less stops, and secondly removal of possible confusion at Acton Town. At Acton Town the District Line trains go in more than one direction, and if you are unfamiliar with them, it would be easy to get the wrong one and waste more time. But bejacob is right. This journey takes a minimum of an hour, and that doesn't include getting to the station, waiting for trains etc.
If you decide to get the Heathrow Express as suggested by bejacob, don't get the Bakerloo Line (brown) at Paddington. You can get the District & Circle (green/yellow) direct to Westminster. I would suggest the Heathrow Express option is by far the best; travel time from Heathrow to Westminster is only 30-35 minutes.
Be sure to have a London Underground map with you. You can print one off from here.
Changing of the Guard is not every day. It is usually alternate days, but this can change and the schedule is not announced for May yet. So check before going. Also, get there early, there are huge crowds every time it is on.
Personally, whenever I go to a new city, I always do a big bus tour as soon as possible. That way I get a good flavour of the place. But I am usually there for several days, and can decide from the tour where to go and explore properly. Sadly, you don't have that option.
London is a wonderful city. You must arrange to have more time there sometime in the future.
The "Plan" just gets better!
Who said, "The games a-foot, Dr. Watson"? (Or something like that)
I wish I could "Re-trace" this plan in person. It would be more successful than a "James Bond movie"!
Hope PP has a wonderful time, no matter what the ultimate plan of action becomes!
You idea of the hop on/off "Open air" bus can be viewed at:
The "Big Red Bus" is a lot of fun and relaxing!
PP, Good luck!
I'll be hitting London next Thursday. It's not often where a cancelled flight brings joy, but my 4:55PM flight that afternoon has been cancelled! That means I'll be spending the night at the London Marriott Hotel Park Lane. I should have plenty of time to knock out sg1974 and pluto77 's tour and walking map. I can certainly squeeze in a frosty lager recommended by Tommo781 , erc and profchiara. I'm looking over arkwright , bejacob and jerrycoin 's suggestions. I think I can hit at least one from each! AND, if I'm running a bit short on spending money, I'll just drop anadyr 's name at Harrod's....If Jerry hasn't beaten me to it.
PS.. Jerry, you'll be happy to know that within 15 minutes of my booking, I received a welcome emails from both the Guest Relations Executive and the Concierge at the Marriott Hotel Park Lane. Excellent!