London Planning – Done (or how to cram everything into 2 days)


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It is only two months until we get to the UK for our Europe trip, so I thought it was about time that we get our UK itinerary organized. Plus, we Southern Albertans woke up to 10-15cm of snow this morning, so no outside photography today, instead it was a good day to plan and research.

A week ago we sat down in a restaurant to discuss what each of us wanted to do and see on this trip. The usual things appeared on our list for London: the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, shopping on Oxford Street – especially in Selfridges, and then my husband informs us that he would like to visit the Tate Gallery. I was about to make note of this, when our teenage daughter exclaimed “No, not the Tate Gallery, let’s go to the National Gallery instead.” At which point both us parents nearly fell off our chairs. Once we had steadied ourselves, we proceeded to feel said teenagers forehead to check for a temperature, which might explain this out of character request. I am happy to report that she was in full health; it was just a sudden onset of an interest in some paintings – nothing more. The National Gallery has therefore made it onto our itinerary.

We arrive in London on a Sunday and leave again early Tuesday morning, which made planning a little difficult, as some sites are not open on Sunday; specifically St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, both of which are open for Services only on a Sunday. So just when I thought I had the order of sites roughly nailed down, my husband, yet again, mentions that he would like to do something that wasn’t on the list as yet. He wants to see a play or a show in the West End. Nothing wrong with that, however, this meant moving our trip to the House of Commons/Lords up in our timetable to have the evening free for a trip to the theatre. It was then that I realized that Westminster Abbey closes rather early, at 1530hrs, which meant another round of reshuffling. I must say I was getting rather frustrated with Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s at that point!

And then there is the small matter of the Tower of London, for which the time of visit also had to be moved up – not ideal as far as I am concerned, as no doubt it will be packed around lunchtime. I really wanted to go there in the later afternoon, when crowds in the summer are usually a little lighter.  The things I do to accommodate my family’s wishes, and then they wonder why I went to Alaska on my own last year (here is a link directly to the first post about that trip)!

A total of 19 different sites/activities, one theatre show, miles of walking and numerous tube stations have now all been crammed into two days, well, actually it’s only one and a half days (but that would have made for a rather long blog post title), given our lunchtime arrival on Sunday.

After spending almost four hours planning and fine tuning and reacquainting myself with the London Tube map (I love the organised chaos that is the Tube!), the list is done, and yes, both Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s will be visited on Monday.

Now, all I need to do is find some trendy looking, but comfortable shoes that can protect my feet from the inevitable aches and pains that will come with this action packed part of our trip (recommendations highly encouraged!).

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Categories: Europe Trip 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “London Planning – Done (or how to cram everything into 2 days)

  1. You are planning your trip two month in advance? I’m impressed, I usually do it one week before I go 🙂

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    • We actually planned this trip last year (same with my Alaska trip – a year in the planning), as we will be going to Europe for a month, so all the bookings etc need to be made early. I always make sure I leave enough space in the planning for some spontaneous things, but we function better with an overall plan.

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  2. I’m jealous – I loved London the one and only time I was there. I’m hoping to get back.

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    • Well, I shall try and take you on my travels back there through the blog when we arrived in London town in July!

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  3. you seem to be well organized 🙂 I tend to do the same but with short notice….. however you get to see so much more when U plan well. But, don’t forget those unexpected things that might torn up on the way, sometimes way more interesting than some touristattractions…

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    • Christina, I agree, good organization means you get to do the things you really want, as a lot of them need to be pre-booked etc. We always make sure that our plans leave enough flexibility for spur of the moment things, as you say, unexpected things might take your fancy.

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