Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Getting to Know London (Originally Posted 3/24/08)

I know it’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to write a bit. I’ve been working extra consulting jobs for the trip so I got a bit sidetracked but for a very good reason...MONEY!

So, where were we??? Ah yes. Our first day in London! I’ve decided that I will be as flexible as possible while in London. I’ve got 5 full days to see as much as possible (and try to fit in some rest as well) but I don’t want to stress myself out so for me, flexibility will be the key. I will be arriving by train from Bath. My plan is to leave Bath around noon so I can arrive in London and check in by 3pm or so. I’m staying at the Cherry Court Hotel.

I found this location in my Rick Steves guidebook. I checked out the web page and as a single woman traveling alone, decided that it was in a safe location, near the tube, and the hotel has closed-circuit television monitoring the entrances and lobby. I felt better knowing if I arrived after dark, the doors were being monitored. I booked a single room and reserved it at the posted rate of 48 pounds a night. Breakfast is a fruit bowl, biscuits, cereal and coffee/tea and that’s plenty for me to start my day.

After checking in I don’t plan on doing too much besides getting to know my way around my new neighborhood and maybe do a hop-on/hop-off bus tour around the city. Depending on how tired I am, I might spend the evening in my room relaxing or just hanging around the area. The next day, I plan to walk around London and catch as much as I can by foot. I will try to visit Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard. I’m hoping that this will be a good day to miss crowds as a Thursday morning isn’t usually the tourist time. After the change, I plan on visiting London Bridge, Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum and the London Dungeon (which sounds a bit like Disney’s Tower of Terror) ride.

Afterwards, I have already booked myself a Thames River Cruise (a circular river cruise that lasts about 40 minutes) that should take me by all the major sites in and around the Thames River. Afterwards, I have also reserved and paid for a fast-track ticket to the London Eye (see pictures above). By purchasing in advance, I’ve saved 10% and have something akin to a reserved time to ride the pod on the Eye and see London at night instead of waiting in line (which I’ve heard can get very lengthy at times) to ride.

My suggestion to all of you is if you can book a ticket or make a reservation on-line before you arrive at your destination, it will probably save you money and time (which is sometimes as valuable, if not more valuable than money). I saved 10% on each ticket and have definite plans for my evening so I don’t waste any of my precious time in London wondering what I’m going to do next. After my pod ride, I’ll catch the tube back to my B&B for the rest of the evening.

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