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SarahD112

Advice for days in London, where to stay, visiting Windsor on the way to ship and more!

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I am reading through the posts, finding a lot of information. Here’s what I can use help with...We are cruising May 29th-June 6th. Flying into LHR at 7:40am on the 28th, out at 5pm on the 7th. Yes, I would’ve liked more time in London, but it wasn’t possible. Husband can’t be away from work for more than 10 days, son will be MIA from his internship...dates are in concrete. So, we have a day in London before the cruise and a day or so on the end back in London. My thought was to stay in one area on May 28th, and another on June 6th so that we can hit two different areas of the city. I’m open to suggestions! Would it be a good idea to do a hop on, hop off on Thursday when we land? It’ll be the longest day we have, but we will also be dealing with jet lag. So maybe a good day to ride? And then use underground when we’re back in London to get from one thing to the next most efficiently? Next up...what to do? Kids first time in Europe - they’re 20 and 17. Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey...what else? Which museums are can’t miss - and won’t take more than a couple hours? And what about the iconic things like Harrods and Piccadilly Circus? So input welcome. 
 

 Next up...I‘D like to visit Windsor castle on the way to the Southampton port. First price I found was £700 for four! Now that was a private van, and I’m not opposed to a tour bus. Given the above price, I welcome a tour bus! 😂 Can anyone recommend a tour company? 
 

And then the return...train to Waterloo station I think. So maybe the second hotel should be somewhere in that area?

 

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You are going to have to narrow the itinerary down somewhat I think! 

 

If you land at 07:40 you would probably be able to pick up by 08:40.  Drive to Windsor castle is about 20 mins.  The castle doesn't open until 10.00 anyway so you will have time to get orientated etc.   You need about 1hr 30 mins to get from Windsor to Southampton - you don't say what time you need to be on board.  From Southampton's cruise schedule it might be Anthem of the Seas which leaves at 4.30pm - so all on board about 3pm?    I'm a bit of a nervous nellie about not being late so if it was me I would probably be looking to leave Windsor no later 1pm to allow for traffic etc.  That will give you only 2 and a bit hours to explore the castle, ou'll have to allow time to walk to and from whereever the car drops you off.  The times are so tight for this bit if you can find a private tour who will take responsibility for you that would be easiest.

 

Coming back... You dock on the 6th and if you are prompt off the ship you can probably be in London somewhere by 10.  Where you overnight is going to be dictated in part by budget.  Staying close to the sights you want is going to be expensive.  But reducing hotel costs will lengthen your travel time.  What sort of budget are you looking at?

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38 minutes ago, GastroGnome said:

If you land at 07:40 you would probably be able to pick up by 08:40.  Drive to Windsor castle is about 20 mins.  The castle doesn't open until 10.00 anyway so you will have time to get orientated etc.   You need about 1hr 30 mins to get from Windsor to Southampton - you don't say what time you need to be on board.

 

I think that the OP is landing at Heathrow one full day before cruise departure, so will need to stay somewhere that night.

 

I agree that this seems to be another attempt to pack too much in to too little time. Windsor doesn't seem to fit naturally into this schedule, because there are better ways of getting from central London to Southampton than by road via Windsor. The same applies to getting back to central London from Southampton after the cruise.

 

For me, if Windsor were an absolute must for some reason, I'd do it on the day of the flight back to the US. Check out of the hotel in the morning, go to Heathrow to either check-in or store luggage, then go to Windsor and back before getting back to the airport for the flight. If the OP is flying an airline that allows check-in at any time on the day of travel, there is much less time pressure for getting back to the airport for the flight.

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On disembarkment day, do self disembarkment where you carry off your luggage (do not put your luggage outside your cabin door the night before).
 

 

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The problem with going to Windsor on day one is what to do with the luggage. If you go straight to a hotel, they will usually look after it for you while you do some sightseeing before checking in later.

 

A lot might depend on the weather on the day - you won't see much from the bottom deck of a hoho bus for example. If you book a hotel in the Westminster area, you could take a river boat down to the Tower. This is a good way to see some of the most famous sights and if you pre-book Tower tickets, you shouldn't be held up too much, even though it's a school holiday.

 

After the Tower you could either take the return trip on the boat or catch a tube back to Westminster for the Houses of Parliament (Big Ben etc), Westminster Abbey. You could then check in at your hotel, have a rest and them maybe The London Eye and a nice dinner somewhere on the South Bank. Just strolling down the South Bank in the evening is an entertainment in itself.

 

https://www.internationalfriends.co.uk/ do a London to Southampton via Windsor Castle deal at around £550 for four people.

 

I am not convinced that going back to London for another trot round the sights is the best use of your limited time. How about checking in to a Southampton hotel and then taking a train to beautiful Salisbury and a hoho to Stonehenge. If the younger members of the party aren't that interested in what JB calls "a pile of old stones", hyou could take a train to Portsmouth and spend a whole day exploring the Royal Dockyard with HMS Victory and The Mary Rose etc.

 

https://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/

 

 

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Globaliser correct - we land Thursday, sail Friday. I hadn’t realized Windsor Castle is so close to LHR - that may be a good plan. Solves the luggage issue, although I’m guessing the hotel would hold onto if we needed. I need to look more into where everything is that we want to see - have only been to London twice and not for many years. Then I can figure out what area to look for hotels. Budget is moderate, I would say? Not looking for the most inexpensive option, but we won’t be at the Savoy either. 😊 I’m assuming modern hotel rooms fit a family of four but we may need two rooms, so that factors in also. 

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2 minutes ago, Bob++ said:

The problem with going to Windsor on day one is what to do with the luggage. If you go straight to a hotel, they will usually look after it for you while you do some sightseeing before checking in later.

 

A lot might depend on the weather on the day - you won't see much from the bottom deck of a hoho bus for example. If you book a hotel in the Westminster area, you could take a river boat down to the Tower. This is a good way to see some of the most famous sights and if you pre-book Tower tickets, you shouldn't be held up too much, even though it's a school holiday.

 

After the Tower you could either take the return trip on the boat or catch a tube back to Westminster for the Houses of Parliament (Big Ben etc), Westminster Abbey. You could then check in at your hotel, have a rest and them maybe The London Eye and a nice dinner somewhere on the South Bank. Just strolling down the South Bank in the evening is an entertainment in itself.

 

https://www.internationalfriends.co.uk/ do a London to Southampton via Windsor Castle deal at around £550 for four people.

 

I am not convinced that going back to London for another trot round the sights is the best use of your limited time. How about checking in to a Southampton hotel and then taking a train to beautiful Salisbury and a hoho to Stonehenge. If the younger members of the party aren't that interested in what JB calls "a pile of old stones", hyou could take a train to Portsmouth and spend a whole day exploring the Royal Dockyard with HMS Victory and The Mary Rose etc.

 

https://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/

 

 

Some great options - thank you! 

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15 minutes ago, SarahD112 said:

I hadn’t realized Windsor Castle is so close to LHR - that may be a good plan. Solves the luggage issue, although I’m guessing the hotel would hold onto if we needed.

 

If you do this, then you will have time to go from central London hotel to Heathrow, and then from Heathrow to Windsor and back again to Heathrow.

 

You will not have time to go from central London to Windsor, then back to central London and then to Heathrow. So leaving your bags at the hotel on the day of your flight back to the US is not a viable plan.

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17 minutes ago, Globaliser said:

 

If you do this, then you will have time to go from central London hotel to Heathrow, and then from Heathrow to Windsor and back again to Heathrow.

 

You will not have time to go from central London to Windsor, then back to central London and then to Heathrow. So leaving your bags at the hotel on the day of your flight back to the US is not a viable plan.

Agreed. I’ve looked on website for American Airlines and do not see LHR mentioned as one of the handful of airports with a four hour maximum baggage check in, but I’ve emailed customer service to double check. I don’t think the queen wants me showing up with my suitcases. 😂

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I really like the idea of the Thames River Cruise. Looks like the London pass has one - and is a 24 hour pass, which would suit my needs better than a particular day. Are there others I should consider?

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1 hour ago, SarahD112 said:

I’ve looked on website for American Airlines and do not see LHR mentioned as one of the handful of airports with a four hour maximum baggage check in, but I’ve emailed customer service to double check.

 

Amongst foreign airlines, I suspect that AA may be one of the likelier candidates for accepting bags very early given that they have a stream of departures starting at 0745 that morning. (It's often more difficult if an airline's check-in desks are only open for the three or four hours immediately before its one single daily departure.)

 

If you need to store your bags, then I think that the facility at T3 is in the arrivals section of the terminal, at number 6 on page 6 of this map.

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51 minutes ago, SarahD112 said:

I really like the idea of the Thames River Cruise. Looks like the London pass has one - and is a 24 hour pass, which would suit my needs better than a particular day. Are there others I should consider?

 

You don't need a London Pass for a river cruise; you probably won't use much of the rest of the value of the pass in that short of a time.

 

You might benefit from a Visitor Oyster Card, which you order from outside of the UK and have delivered. They come with value, can be topped off, are good on the tube, TFL busses, and offer other discounts. Information on visiting London and using public transportation is here. If you mouse around on that page, you'll find links to "Experience London" which will you show you any discounts. You can get a refund on unused value on the Oyster when you leave.

 

Are you planning on just the day of disembarkation in London and flying home the next day, or two nights? That could change your calculus here a bit.

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1 hour ago, markeb said:

 

Are you planning on just the day of disembarkation in London and flying home the next day, or two nights? That could change your calculus here a bit.

The OP has one night in London on the way home. Disembark on June 6th, fly home at 5 pm June 7th.

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16 minutes ago, gnome12 said:

The OP has one night in London on the way home. Disembark on June 6th, fly home at 5 pm June 7th.

 

Missed the actual dates. Saw the "day or so"  and didn't connect.

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Jet lag may or may not be an issue for your first day of exploring. 

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SarahD112, I strongly recommend getting price quotes from car services frequently mentioned on this board. A car services from Southampton to Windsor Castle could be as little as one-third of the price quote you were given. They hold your luggage and will then transfer you to your final destination when done touring,

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On 2/5/2020 at 4:50 PM, SarahD112 said:

 I’m assuming modern hotel rooms fit a family of four but we may need two rooms, so that factors in also. 

 

Most UK Hotels only accommodate 2 Adults. some of the Budget hotels( Travelodge & Premier Inn ) can accommodate extra Children, but at 17 & 20 , they will not be classed as Children here.

 

You will more than likely require 2 rooms.

 

If you really need to Visit Windsor, I would suggest staying post cruise somewhere near Heathrow as this is very close to windsor.

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There is a lovely new Hilton Garden Inn at terminal 3.  We stayed there and they arranged a cab to Windsor the day we arrived.   We enjoyed walking around town, and a nice dinner by the Thames. There are National Express buses from the bus terminal near the hotel to Southampton. This would be more relaxing, Windsor is a very pretty town.  And being outside will help with jet lag or reverse this when you leave depending on time of your flights. 

 

Although we enjoyed our Thames cruise, with limited time seeing Buckingham, visiting the tower and wandering in a nice area plus perhaps the British Museum would be my recommendation.  We enjoy Kensington area and stayed at the Marriott Kensington which has easy access by tube to Heathrow.  The Premier Inn Kensington is also good value.  Perhaps your last day when you are not jet lagged this would be more enjoyable.

Edited by bennybear

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We are staying in London and booked a car service from London to Southampton on the day of our cruise with Discover the South, they are picking us up at 9 am and taking us to Southampton via Windsor Castle.  They do the same thing on the return side.  They were reasonable, but we are sharing the cost with two other couples.  You can post this on your Roll Call and see if anyone else is interested in doing that.  https://www.discoverthesouth.co.uk/tours/1190-9387/windsor-castle.php

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Ok...few days further into planning! Suggestion to do Windsor Castle on departure day is brilliant. Looks like I can check luggage up to 12 hours early with American Airlines, so will most likely arrange a car from there. Has anyone used rideshares in London? Looks like Uber’s licensed has been suspended in London. What’s a safe alternative? Bolt? Gett?

 

Where to stay in London on the Thursday we arrive? I want to do the river cruise, maybe hop on hop off, Tower of London, Westminster abbey, buckingham palace...should I stay in Westminster? I’m not sure how the jet lag is going to manifest so a nearby hotel might be nice. The Grand at Trafalger Square looks nice. Quick tube ride to Waterloo, as I’m thinking we’ll take the train to Southampton on Friday. For the tube and train...are there luggage limits? Or as long as we’re willing to shlep it, we’re ok? I’m expecting we’ll each have a suitcase, a carry on and a backpack. 

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3 hours ago, SarahD112 said:

Looks like Uber’s licensed has been suspended in London. What’s a safe alternative?

 

Uber's licence has not been renewed, but the licence continues in force while Uber pursues its avenues of legal appeal. So Uber is actually still operating in London.

 

But the unspoken implication in your second sentence (Uber is safe, what else is as safe?) is very funny. The reason that Uber is in this position for a second time is on safety grounds: Uber was operating unsafely before; and after securing a period of probation from a judge on appeal the first time around, Uber has continued to operate unsafely. So the licensing authority decided that Uber is not a "fit and proper person" to operate in London.

 

I don't use any of these services myself - there are some perfectly good home-grown local companies when I need a car who I would rather support - but one thing that has caught my eye is that Ola has just started operating here.

 

3 hours ago, SarahD112 said:

For the tube and train...are there luggage limits? Or as long as we’re willing to shlep it, we’re ok?

 

Basically, this is correct. And storage on both Tubes and trains will be a matter of improvisation. From Waterloo to Southampton on a Friday morning, you'll be going in the opposite direction from the bulk of the traffic, so there should be plenty of space for you to use.

 

I would agree with staying in town on the Thursday night. There is no single location that is close to everything, so don't get hung up on there being a "best" area. If you're staying at or near Trafalgar Square, I wouldn't try going to Waterloo on the Tube with luggage. Not all stations have "no stairs" routes, and I think you wouldn't find the Tube route easy. Just get a taxi.

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We have booked Woodford Tours for our transfers to and from the cruise port. I was very pleased with their price and flexibility. They will give you a driver for the day to take you wherever you'd like to go and handle your luggage for much less than I anticipated.

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On 2/8/2020 at 10:28 AM, bennybear said:

There is a lovely new Hilton Garden Inn at terminal 3.  We stayed there and they arranged a cab to Windsor the day we arrived.   We enjoyed walking around town, and a nice dinner by the Thames. There are National Express buses from the bus terminal near the hotel to Southampton. This would be more relaxing, Windsor is a very pretty town.  And being outside will help with jet lag or reverse this when you leave depending on time of your flights. 

 

Although we enjoyed our Thames cruise, with limited time seeing Buckingham, visiting the tower and wandering in a nice area plus perhaps the British Museum would be my recommendation.  We enjoy Kensington area and stayed at the Marriott Kensington which has easy access by tube to Heathrow.  The Premier Inn Kensington is also good value.  Perhaps your last day when you are not jet lagged this would be more enjoyable.

 

I would love to hear more about the details of your trip. I think it’s exactly what we want to do 

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4 hours ago, tanyaewa said:

 

I would love to hear more about the details of your trip. I think it’s exactly what we want to do 

Happy to help.  What specifics do you Need? 

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