Dear Cruisemates Staff,
We will be going to London 2 days early prior to the British Isles cruise on the Royal Princess Aug. 3, 01. We have been advised to tour on our own and are interested in the double-decker tour buses that allow you to get on and off at selected sites. There is also the option of the "Tube" to get from place to place efficiently, since we only have 2 days. Any advice on buying day passes, how and where, and suggestions on don't miss attractions would be appreciated.
Thanks and TTFN,
Here's what I dredged up on the 'net for the double-decker buses. We've never taken one. We're "tube people" and have been to London a lot of times. For a first-timer, I think it's a great idea.
My #1 don't miss is Harrod's in Knightsbridge (on the tube) but that's because I SHOP !!! (Don't forget to apply for your VAT refund and be prepared to pay $1 to use the loo.)
In no special order:
Fortnum and Mason for wonderful teas ... ideal for gifts. If you're lucky enough to hit "First Flush Darjeeling" that's about the best gift of all. (Please send me some?)
St. Paul's Cathedral
A boat ride down the Thames to Greenwich, take the train back (time-consuming, maybe not best for your first visit. Take a lunch for the boat ride.)
Buckingham Palace (the changing of the guard is not all that impressive if Liz is not in residence but the Old Vic fountain is magnificent.)
The stables of the Royal Horsemen
A stroll through Mayfair, blissing out on all the beautiful windowbox flowers
A good pub -- which will also have beautiful windowbox flowers
An Indian restaurant in SoHo.
Definite miss: Madame Toussaud's . Better to go to the Tower Records just kitty-corner.
Look at the pigeons on Lord Nelson.
As always, my suggestion is to get your hands on a Lonely Planet guide book and study it before laying out your plans.
My husband's advice: Make sure you know the exchange rate.
Just a "walkabout" for a while can be a great experience. Duck into any shop showing the Royal Warrant above or beside the door. You can find out where Chuck buys his coffee, the Queen Mum buys her undies, and all sorts of other interesting things.
Don't hesitate to check out little sidestreets. Just wear comfortable shoes.
We give the Tower of London a pass, other than just looking at it from the outside.
If I can help more, ,just ask.
pamda -- CruiseMates First Time Cruisers Hostess
NOTE: My husband and I once jumped off to London for a long weekend and forgot to take money. We had less than $200 between us and MAC cards were not international. We had more fun that most people SHOULD have.
Thank you so much for the advice and website. We will surely make good use of it. It will be our first trip to London and, after the cruise, we will be spending 3 additional days with friends who live in Yeovil, south of London. We met them on our first cruise, to Alaska in 1997. It will be a wonderful opportunity to tour GB with local residents and friends.
After posting my question, I noticed the detailed tour guide by Mary Ann Hemphill, "Lingering in London," on the Cruisemates Home page. It is a very comprehensive document and has some great advice for first-time visitors. I wish we had scheduled more time in London as there is just too much to see in only two days+. I guess we could forgo sleep and catch up on board the Royal. ! That would cut in to my eating time.
Take care and thank you again.
If you contact British Tourism in USA , you can sometimes get better rates by buying passes prior to leaving . Depends on type of pass, train , london only On the other hand go to their
web page for information. http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/html/v...op_direct.html
I disagree--DO see the Tower--the Beefeater guides are full of fascinating information and the Crown jewels are worth the trip alone! Arrive as early as you can; lines can be long but move pretty fast. Also, Buckingham Palace is open when the Queen is on vacation in the summer; we haven't "done" the tour but plan to in September. Have fun--there is so much to see in London.
Dear Cruisemates Friends,
We definitely Plan on going to the Tower of London at 9 AM, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, The British Museum for highlights, and Harrod's. We also will probably take the double-decker bus and walk in Hyde Park and anything else we can cram in in two days. Our first cruise day is sea day so we can recuperate (between meals, of course) before Edinburgh. BTW, isn't the Tattoo going on the first couple of weeks in August? We hope to take some of that in while we are in Edinburgh.
Take care and good cruising,
You will LOVE the Royal Princess, I've sailed her 3 times and can't wait until I do again. While in Edinburgh you may not be able to see the Tatoo, it happens at night and the ship is there during the day. But, if you get to tour the castle, it is really interesting (I love anything that has to do with Scotland!) and see the Scottish Crown Jewels in the castle. We did the British Isles and Iceland cruise on Royal in 1996 and Western Europe on her last August, visited England, Scotland and Ireland again. Going again next month on Crown Princess for TransAtlantic, get to stop in Scotland again (Glasgow) Yipee!! I'll answer questions if I can.