24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
mdba73
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:45 pm

24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by mdba73 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:46 pm

This is the first time I am getting a 24 hour layover at LHR and plan to spend it visiting London.
I have connected through LHR many a times but never had the opportunity to step outside of the airport.

Land around 7 AM and my connecting is next day 11AM.

Any suggestions on what all I can visit?

Thanks.

User avatar
Ethelred
Posts: 270
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:38 am

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by Ethelred » Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:59 pm

London has more worthwhile attractions than you could visit in a month, let alone a single day. Without knowing what your interests are when travelling, this is a very difficult question to answer.

otinkyad
Posts: 136
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2016 5:35 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by otinkyad » Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:02 pm

I'll second that. We spent a month in London, and I think we managed to skim the highlights.

You could spend a day in the British Museum without remembering to eat. Or you could walk/bus/tube your way around the center: Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, London Eye, Tate Modern, Millennium Bridge, St. Paul's, Tower of London, and Tower Bridge, to select some highlights. On a two-day visit when the kids were young, we actually took the sightseeing hop-on/hop-off bus around the center, so save time and energy.

Assuming the trip is in the near future, winter weather might affect some plans more than others.

"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life." —Samuel Johnson

monsterid
Posts: 101
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2016 7:10 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by monsterid » Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:08 pm

If it's a weekend, go watch some football =)

Rupert
Posts: 2731
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by Rupert » Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:10 pm

Have you ever been to London before? If you haven't and you only have a day, I'd take one of those organized bus tours. Tacky, I know, but it really is a good way to "skim" the sights. Then on your second visit, you'll won't feel any pressure to see a famous sight that you're not deeply interested in and can focus on the things you really want to see.

centrifuge41
Posts: 1155
Joined: Mon May 17, 2010 9:04 am

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by centrifuge41 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:19 pm

Rupert wrote:Have you ever been to London before? If you haven't and you only have a day, I'd take one of those organized bus tours. Tacky, I know, but it really is a good way to "skim" the sights. Then on your second visit, you'll won't feel any pressure to see a famous sight that you're not deeply interested in and can focus on the things you really want to see.

This. First time I was in London, I just walked and walked, from the Eye to Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, National Gallery, St Paul's, Globe Theater, Tower Bridge. Later, I went to Hyde Park, Westminster Abbey, and a brief time-boxed quick look at (parts of) the British Museum.

Second time, I was able to delve more in depth. I went to Victoria & Albert, and the Science Museum. The hop on hop off bus is not super cheap, but with just 1 day in London, time is more precious than money. You might as well as spring for it.

adamthesmythe
Posts: 1641
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by adamthesmythe » Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:02 pm

> Land around 7 AM and my connecting is next day 11AM.

If arriving from the US- you will be seriously jet-lagged. This could influence what you can reasonably do.

(if arriving from the US) I would try to do things that keep me awake at least until dinnertime.

The British Museum is certainly a very good choice. Usually spending some time walking around outside in the sun helps you adjust for the time change. Good luck with that in England.

pinhead
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:47 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by pinhead » Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:36 pm

Get an all day train pass which is around 12 pounds and just explore!

Capsu78
Posts: 179
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 10:30 am

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by Capsu78 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:21 pm

I have done similar things in multiple EU cites including London. My suggestions:
Try to get an airport hotel. When you clear customs
, head to hotel to either check in (hopefully) or at least drop your bags. I want one thing and one thing only after an overnight flight- a shower- so if your room is available, great... If not, get the OK to use the health club facilities. NO NAPPING
Take the tube down to somewhere close to a Hop On Hop Off bus line. I used to scoff at them and did things on my own but have done a 180 degree switch and use them in any new town I arrive at big enough to have them. I can ride on a bus while jet lagged pretty easily. I would think you should be able to make it downtown by noon, take the bus for a few stops, get off and find lunch about mid afternoon, and ride a good number of stops until the line shuts down or you tired. Take Tube back to hotel, get dinner or beverages at hotel and then crash out.
11 am flight means I want to be up by 7, eating breakfast by 8 and heading to LHR by 8:30.
Also , make sure your arrival and departure airports are the same. Once had to land at Gatwick and leave from LHR and it is a hassle if the roads are jammed up.

halfnine
Posts: 715
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:48 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by halfnine » Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:21 pm

With 24 hours in London you can do whatever you want in the sense if there is something you really want to do you won't be time limited. Now, if there isn't a top of the list must visit attraction in London for you, then the hop-on hop-off bus mentioned previously is certainly viable. The walk down Southbank and around Central London also is quite viable and maybe preferable if you have issues with jetlag.

User avatar
JMacDonald
Posts: 2032
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:53 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by JMacDonald » Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:29 pm

If you are still awake in the evening, go to a performing arts show: play, musical, ballet, concert, or the opera if any of those appeal to you. London is probably the greatest city in the world for the performing arts.
Best Wishes, | Joe

mdba73
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:45 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by mdba73 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:13 pm

Ethelred wrote:London has more worthwhile attractions than you could visit in a month, let alone a single day. Without knowing what your interests are when travelling, this is a very difficult question to answer.


Thank you. We are going in with an open mind. Plan is to not stress ourselves but hopefully cover 3 to 4 major attractions.
This stopover is part of my personal challenge to visit/travel to one new country and a US state every year.
Hopefully next visit we may be able to spend an extended stop over in UK or somewhere in Europe.

mdba73
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:45 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by mdba73 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:14 pm

otinkyad wrote:I'll second that. We spent a month in London, and I think we managed to skim the highlights.

You could spend a day in the British Museum without remembering to eat. Or you could walk/bus/tube your way around the center: Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, London Eye, Tate Modern, Millennium Bridge, St. Paul's, Tower of London, and Tower Bridge, to select some highlights. On a two-day visit when the kids were young, we actually took the sightseeing hop-on/hop-off bus around the center, so save time and energy.

Assuming the trip is in the near future, winter weather might affect some plans more than others.

"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life." —Samuel Johnson


I agree - these were the exact thoughts my friends shared. We are travelling in June 2017 - hopefully the weather is nice.

Thank you.

mdba73
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:45 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by mdba73 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:16 pm

Rupert wrote:Have you ever been to London before? If you haven't and you only have a day, I'd take one of those organized bus tours. Tacky, I know, but it really is a good way to "skim" the sights. Then on your second visit, you'll won't feel any pressure to see a famous sight that you're not deeply interested in and can focus on the things you really want to see.


This will be our first visit. We are thinking about taking the local transportation tube/city transit.

mdba73
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:45 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by mdba73 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:18 pm

monsterid wrote:If it's a weekend, go watch some football =)


I really wished for this - But I don't think I would be able to make it. Lets see.
My youngest is really interested in soccer :)

mdba73
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:45 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by mdba73 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:20 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:> Land around 7 AM and my connecting is next day 11AM.

If arriving from the US- you will be seriously jet-lagged. This could influence what you can reasonably do.

(if arriving from the US) I would try to do things that keep me awake at least until dinnertime.

The British Museum is certainly a very good choice. Usually spending some time walking around outside in the sun helps you adjust for the time change. Good luck with that in England.


I thought of this too - but I am really hoping we should be OK. We will starting around 6pm on the east coast.

mdba73
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:45 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by mdba73 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:22 pm

Capsu78 wrote:I have done similar things in multiple EU cites including London. My suggestions:
Try to get an airport hotel. When you clear customs
, head to hotel to either check in (hopefully) or at least drop your bags. I want one thing and one thing only after an overnight flight- a shower- so if your room is available, great... If not, get the OK to use the health club facilities. NO NAPPING
Take the tube down to somewhere close to a Hop On Hop Off bus line. I used to scoff at them and did things on my own but have done a 180 degree switch and use them in any new town I arrive at big enough to have them. I can ride on a bus while jet lagged pretty easily. I would think you should be able to make it downtown by noon, take the bus for a few stops, get off and find lunch about mid afternoon, and ride a good number of stops until the line shuts down or you tired. Take Tube back to hotel, get dinner or beverages at hotel and then crash out.
11 am flight means I want to be up by 7, eating breakfast by 8 and heading to LHR by 8:30.
Also , make sure your arrival and departure airports are the same. Once had to land at Gatwick and leave from LHR and it is a hassle if the roads are jammed up.


Thanks for the advice on Hop On Hop off buses. I am hoping they are bit different and better then what we experienced in New York 4 years back; Uber had really help us during our 2015 trip - hoping we can find something similar in London.

tacster
Posts: 263
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:08 am
Location: Right here right now.

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by tacster » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:53 pm

Will you have a working smartphone with data? If so, it's very easy to get around London via tube and bus using Google Maps.
INSERT PITHY QUOTE HERE

denovo
Posts: 3524
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:04 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by denovo » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:30 pm

Hopefully there's no kiddos in tow, this will wear them out. A healthy adult should be able to swing it with a lot of caffeine.

User avatar
jabberwockOG
Posts: 1070
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 7:23 am

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by jabberwockOG » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:38 pm

I'd avoid the mobbed typical tourist stops like the plague. London is filled with world class museums that are well worth visiting. If you enjoy art, London has some of the world's best art museums. I'd also recommend Westminster Abbey despite being on the tourist circuit it is an amazing place - visit early or late in the day to avoid the crowds.

dandinsac
Posts: 74
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2016 8:34 am

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by dandinsac » Sat Jan 14, 2017 1:00 am

My wife and I saw a Shakespeare play at the Globe theater, which was fun. We just walked up and bought tickets.

When I was in Paris we took a guided bicycle tour alomg the Seine. We got to see a lot from Notre Dame to the Eiffel tower and back.

+1 on a tourbus as well. I've done those in Edinburgh and San Francisco.

richyg12
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:08 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by richyg12 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:10 am

use the hop of / hop off bus. The tube is an efficient way to travel for business but you don't really experience the place as you would want to as a tourist. You just pop up from underground at a different site and don't get any sense of perspective. The open top busses with commentary will give you a flavour of London and you can get off as you wish. Just had a look and one is £27 including a boat ride on the River Thames. As others have said you could spend all day in one museum.

otinkyad
Posts: 136
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2016 5:35 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by otinkyad » Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:40 am

Capsu78 wrote:Try to get an airport hotel.


Not a bad idea, since you're not going to do much in the morning no matter what. Even at the cost of an earlier morning, though, I think I'd rather wake up in the city rather than at the airport. The alternatives, I think, are to stay near Paddington (decent tube connections, but a little out of the way) or somewhere on the Piccadilly line. The Heathrow Express takes you to the former in about 35 minutes. The tube line is much cheaper and takes about an hour. You don't want to deal with line changes and luggage. I've never taken a cab from Heathrow, so I don't know how expensive that is, or whether it saves any time.

I agree with others that the tube or even the hop-on/hop-off bus will leave your sense of location in a blender, which is not a horrible thing, really. An alternative to scurrying around hitting all the highlights, though, would be to walk past most of them. The walk from Buckingham Palace to the Tower of London along the Southbank is about 4 miles in all. That could be a good antidote to jet lag, or a truly miserable adventure, but it would be easy to bail for the tube or bus. You'll pass Westminster Abbey, Parliament, Big Ben, London Eye, Tate Modern, Millennium Bridge, Globe Theatre, London Bridge (the least interesting of the lot, but a name to reckon with), and Tower Bridge. You would miss Hyde Park (unless you walked even farther), most of the Mall, National Galley, Trafalgar Square, British Museum, British Library, and countless other things, but you could pick one or two to fly by.

If you really want to see Windsor Castle, Wimbledon, Greenwich, or someplace else nearby but not in the center, you could do that and still manage to see Big Ben and Tower Bridge for obligatory souvenir photos.

User avatar
friar1610
Posts: 1033
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: MA South Shore

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by friar1610 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 10:57 am

Rupert wrote:Have you ever been to London before? If you haven't and you only have a day, I'd take one of those organized bus tours. Tacky, I know, but it really is a good way to "skim" the sights. Then on your second visit, you'll won't feel any pressure to see a famous sight that you're not deeply interested in and can focus on the things you really want to see.


+1 about the bus tours - you'll get a decent overview of the city. Most of them are about a half day IIRC. Also, if there's anything you're particularly interested I'm, try to take a walking tour led by a guide. (Just Google "London Walking Tours".) I'm a history buff and last time I was there I took a very interesting Lomdon Blitz walking tour.
Friar1610

Beth*
Posts: 721
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:57 am

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by Beth* » Sat Jan 14, 2017 12:24 pm

I'd stay out of the tube. I get extremely claustrophobic in the London tube and you can't see any of the city from the tube. Last time I was in London we took the public double-decker buses everywhere and got to see lots of parts of the city that we wouldn't be able to see otherwise. Google maps was great in helping us figure out the bus system. I have never used the on-off tour buses, but I think if I had only one day I would probably try to do that rather than taking public transit.

For anything you want to tour (Parliament, Westminster Abbey) check online in advance to see if you can book timed tickets. You can't always just walk up and go in. All the major sites in downtown London are very close to each other. I think if I had one day I would focus on Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Tate Modern, and the London Eye. Then I would relax by taking a boat ride down the river. The Tower of London is fascinating but the entire complex is huge and would take up a good bit of your day. However, if you are traveling with children, I would do the Tower of London, the London Eye, and a boat ride. Children are likely to find the Tower of London much more interesting than Parliament or Westminster Abbey.

oxothuk
Posts: 298
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:35 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by oxothuk » Sat Jan 14, 2017 12:30 pm

tacster wrote:Will you have a working smartphone with data? If so, it's very easy to get around London via tube and bus using Google Maps.

If you won't have an active data connection on your smartphone, go into Google Maps before you go and download the London area as offline maps.

Dottie57
Posts: 2405
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by Dottie57 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 1:07 pm

I would definitely pursue finding the Leaky Cauldron on Diagon Alley. </silly>

User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 17586
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:07 pm

London is my favorite city, and I have visited it many times over the years. The first time was in the 1980s, and the place that affected me the most was the BBC building. When I had lived in the Soviet Union, BBC was my main source of information about the world outside the Iron Curtain, and finally seeing the place made me very emotional.

The most recent time was two years ago. One day, I had to get from the British Museum to the Imperial College. I had some extra time and decided to take a bus instead of the tube. The traffic in London was horrendous, my bus was slower than I could have walked, and I was late for my meeting.

For someone visiting London for the first time for one day, taking a tour bus around the city is a good idea, as several others have suggested.

Enjoy!
Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

Cruise
Posts: 387
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:17 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by Cruise » Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:26 pm

If you like walking tours: Google "London Walks" Very inexpensive, and you could do 2-3 in the day you are there.

If you like Indian food: At the Hilton Terminal 5 hotel, there is a great, great Indian restuarant, Mr. Todiwala's. Don't miss it!

If you are so inclined, the British War Museum has what I consider the world's best Holocaust exhibit.

ralph124cf
Posts: 1739
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:41 am

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by ralph124cf » Sat Jan 14, 2017 7:19 pm

Contrary to a previous poster, I recommend an airport hotel. Pricing is cheaper than downtown for a comparable hotel. Check online for hotels, my favorite LHR hotel is Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, but you may prefer one closer to a tube station. About a $20-25 cab ride. Set up a car with the hotel for the return, this is usually about $15. Usually fairly cheap on weekends, more pricey during the work week. The bag drag on the tube to downtown is a real pain, especially with kids.

The British Museum proves that looting really does pay.

Ralph

killjoy2012
Posts: 918
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:30 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by killjoy2012 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 8:21 pm

I've been to London 6 times in the last 17 years - it's probably my favorite big city in the world. I was just there last September. As others have said, a lot of this depends on what YOU want to go see & do. You could spend a month in London and not see it all. If you're just looking for ideas:

- After landing at LHR, take the Piccadilly Tube line East, changing to the District line at Hammersmith, exiting at Tower Hill -- and go see the Tower of London first thing in the morning when they open (avoids long lines). Google 2for1 deals, if that interests you.

- After you spend a couple hours at ToL, take the tube (District or Circle, westbound) to the Westminster exit and go see all of the London city/government sites from there by foot - Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St James Park, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Downing Street, etc. I also found the Churchill War Rooms very interesting.

- Then tube or walk to the British Museum which isn't that far off. Mind the closing time. Get in there (which is free) to at least see the top sights that interest you -- some suggestions would be the Rosetta Stone, Greek Elgin marbles, Egyptian mummies. Warning - you could literally spend a week here alone trying to see everything, so pick and choose wisely to optimize time.

- Assuming its now around dinner time, tube to the London Bridge stop (Waterloo/Northern line) and walk through Borough Market stopping to graze wherever it makes you happy. Another good casual sit down option in the area is Nando's. There's quite a few Harry Potter sites to see in the London Bridge area, so if that's of interest, google & plan your walk accordingly.

OTOH, if you're a Harry Potter fan and are considering the WB Studio Tour up in Watford (which is great!), I'd buy that ticket in advance online and pick a visiting time towards their closing time. That way if your flight lands late, or you need a cat nap to recover from jet lag, you're not going to have to be running at 100 MPH right after getting off the plane. Watford is an easy trip, but requires tubing to the Euston Station for a train ride to Watford Junction, then a WB bus to the studio itself.

Lastly - hotel - I've stayed at the T4 Hilton, and while it was nice in a business hotel atmosphere kind of way, there's absolutely nothing to do. If you had a flight < 9am, I'd suggest staying at the hotel regardless. With an 11am flight out, my suggestion would be to stay in central London, somewhere right off of the Piccadilly line for an easy morning shot to the airport. For 1 day/night stopover, I'd go as central as possible -- like the Westminster area. Staying in the city lets you maximize the sight seeing that main day, whereas if you stay at the airport, your day is done when you head that way as there's nothing to see/do in the airport area. The Premier Inn Waterloo or County Hall are excellent value options. If that flight out day is a weekday, just be mindful of morning rush hour on the tube and leave early enough to not be stressed about time. And google Oyster vs. Travelcards, and 241 deals before leaving, so you know in advance what public transport option you want to utilize.

jbuzolich
Posts: 236
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:52 pm

Re: 24 hour stop over at LHR, what all can I visit in London?

Post by jbuzolich » Sat Jan 14, 2017 10:49 pm

I'm old and boring now, but with 24 hours in London I think I'd do a quick visit with some friends who are like family and then I'd be on one long pub crawl and kebab binge of gluttony until I had to drag myself back to the plane. Throw in a curry while I'm at it.

Post Reply