Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Our London Itinerary

My husband proclaimed that if we all forgo inessentials, such as eating, sleeping, and bathing, and all three of us do things in parallel (the old English war tactic of divide and conquer) and then compare notes, we might, possibly, be able to cover the main items on my list (per advice from all of you).

Well, so I pared down the list. The family got one day to choose what they wanted to do. The rest of the time, they're going to be running after me as I speed walk through museums and points of interest. I have given fair warning, if anyone dares to fall sick, they'll have to stay at the apartment by themselves. Can't expect me to interrupt my schedule.

(At least, on this trip to England, I can claim to have a current map. I've been known to venture into Northumberland with a map of medieval Northumbria, much to the exasperation of my brother, who did a lot of the driving, because of my tendency to sidle into ditches and bushes on the wrong side of the road, for Pete's sake.)

So here's our itinerary, subject to change if members of family protest The Maternal Plan of Torture, or you experts think this is preposterous and completely undoable.

Day Zero:
Might as well begin as I mean to go on. This is the day we land around noon at Heathrow. On the agenda are travel to our apartment in the Strand via the Heathrow Connect, figure out weekly Tube passes, and groceries. Also:
— Trafalgar Square
— London Eye

Day One:
— Old Mayfair walk with London Walks
— Pick up lunch from Selfridges
— Grovesnor Square
— St. James' Street
— Hatchard's
— Floris Perfumers (block behind Hatchard's)
— Locke & Co. Hatters
— White's
— Boodle's
— Bond Street
— Oxford Street
— Tea at Fortnum & Mason's
— Hyde's Park

Day Two:
— Tower of London
— Museum of London
— St. Paul's Cathedral & Evensong

Day Three:
British Library
British Museum

Day Four:
The Notting Hill Carnival
Lion King at the Lyceum

Day Five:
— The Secrets of Westminster Abbey with London Walks
— Big Ben
— Sir John Soane's Museum

Day Six:
— Buckingham Palace, changing of the guards at 11am
— Osterley Park

Day Seven:
Travel to airport with a heavy heart.

Is this is a workable itinerary that will not result in bilious family members who will bar me from all future vacation planning?


Diane Gaston said...

Have a WONDERFUL time, Keira. I think your family will love your itinerary and I think this sounds like a great plan.

If you can, if they are open, I would add Spencer House and/or Appsley House.

I'm all envy!

Cara King said...

Sounds great!

But if you mean St James's Street instead of St James's Square, you might edit it so you don't get lost! (Lost of streets with very similar names in London....)

I know you'll have a fabulous time! Good luck!!!


Keira Soleore said...

Thanks much, Diane and Cara.

I'm always looking to add more. My husband's looking to take stuff off. Perhaps for one day (Sunday), two different groups are in order, so I can squeeze in Spencer.

I much regret the loss of V&A and all the Kew stuff from my list. Two more days would've been better, but this is a fabulous start. Some day I might get lucky again and be able to return to this amazing city.

Cara, yikes on the St. James mixup. I did mean street and not square. Off to edit...

Anna Campbell said...

Keira, what a fabulous itinerary! I'm with Diane on Spencer House - it's right in town so easy to get to (I think it's only available for guided tours on Sunday so check that - I went in 2004 so things may have changed). So glad you're doing Osterley!!! Did you see the London Museum has just reopened their Georgian section with some amazing exhibits. I've never been to it - it was closed last time I was in London when it was on my itinerary. And the walks are a fabulous way to cover a lot of ground quickly and come up with the unusual and quirky stuff. You'll be TIRED!!!! That's a lot of mental stimulus in a small time. But it's going to be just fantastic! By the way, Jenny Haddon, a lovely writing friend, took me to lunch at Fortnum's in 2004 (the restaurant was closed for refurbishment in 2007 - lots seemed to be closed in 2007!) and they do a decent house champagne if you're in the mood for a bit of bubbly!

Happy travels! Wish I could come with!!!!

Anna Campbell said...

By the way, giggled at your brother being cranky about the medieval map! How hilarious!

SonomaLass said...

If you're only there for six days, and you don't know when you'll be back, this is probably a good plan. You'll have seen much more of London than I ever have, although I am in the UK at least once a year -- mostly I see Heathrow and the M25!

My advice is to pick up lots of brochures & guidebooks and take LOTS of pictures. When I do a lot of sight-seeing over a short period, I find that organizing the pictures and looking through the guides later on is when I actually process a lot of my thoughts and reactions. YMMV, of course.

Have a wonderful time! We are all eager to hear all about your experiences.

Keira Soleore said...

Quick stopover. It's fam time in a minute. So I'll be back to reply to Fo and SonomaLass in about five hours.

Keira Soleore said...

Fo, that's it precisely about the London Walks. You often get to see/hear things you'd never notice on your own or on organized-by-the-monument-so-formal tour.

Diane and Fo, I really hope to squeeze Apsley in.

Fo, Fortum & Mason's was open again in 2009, so we should be good, I hope.

And yes, I WISH you could come.

BROTHERS! The map was just a bit off, you know.

Keira Soleore said...

SonomaLass, great to have you stopping by the blog.

Heh, on the airport and highway. Relatives are the bane of interesting lives. I circumvented the having to live with my two sets by booking into an apartment-hotel and scheduling couple meals with them.

Yes, I do love to look over the guidebooks and postcards (often the photographs there were far better than any I took) so I can recall my trip. In the pre-kid days, I used to keep an active journal. It was so much work then, but so much fun now for me to go back and re-read. Ah, the memories.

Maili said...

Groceries: it's best to shop at Sainsbury's or Tesco's (which can be found practically anywhere).
Avoid Marks & Spencer and Waitrose if you want to save money. To be honest, it's much cheaper to dine out especially if you rely on a local listings mag like Time Out. Loads of good and very reasonably priced places out there.

Considering it's August a.k.a. Tourist Season, Oxford Street and Bond Street are usually crowded especially during bank holiday weekend (your mention of Notting Hill Carnival, which traditionally takes place on a Sunday during the August bank holiday weekend).

Hard to avoid going into shops along a side of Oxford/Bond Street, too. Fortnum & Mason's is interesting, so it's not possible to pop in for a tea without checking out the place for an hour or so. :D I'm still laughing at "pick up lunch from Selfridge's" - we're talking about the flagship? It's a massive place one could easily spend an entire day in. :D

I admit I don't get why you'd want to visit the British Library (it's basically a modern building on an isle surrounded by road traffic and train stations) and Osterley Park.

All in all, the list is rather ambitious, enough to make it possible for you to be either stressed or miss out on a couple. If I were you I'd swap some around a bit, especially Day One.

Actually, why not purchase an Oyster card or travel card online before you come here? You'd not have to deal with it when you arrive. URL: http://visitorshop.tfl.gov.uk/

Keira Soleore said...

From MagdaleneB:

"Don't look @KeiraSoleore Your schedule is too full." RT @spotcoolstuff RT @501places: Walking tour of the streets in London Monopoly board game?