Help Me Fill 8 hours in London

SixSix Ask me about my buttholeRegistered User regular
edited April 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
In a few days I'll be traveling to the UK for work, and I've got about a 9 hour layover in London on Saturday. I get in to Heathrow around 9am, and then fly out to Edinburgh (also from Heathrow) at 6 that night. I fly back to London on Monday and then back to the US on Tuesday, but my time is pretty well booked up aside from the few hours I have free on Sunday. I want to plan on being back to Heathrow by 5 or 5:30, which gives me basically from 9-5 on Sunday to do as I please.

How best to spend this time, I wonder?

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  • SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    wait... I can't help with what to do in London, but you are only giving yourself a half hour at one of the worlds busiest airports? That sounds crazy to me.

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  • The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    BRITISH MUSEUM.

    Just go.

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  • SixSix Ask me about my butthole Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Sentry wrote: »
    wait... I can't help with what to do in London, but you are only giving yourself a half hour at one of the worlds busiest airports? That sounds crazy to me.

    Flight's actually at 6:30, and I'm planning on being back there by 5. If I end up a few minutes past that I'll be fine, and worst case there's a later flight to EDI I can take.

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  • saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I'd factor in a good 45-60 minutes from Heathrow to London Paddington and vice versa if you take the rail link, just to be safe.

    From London Paddington you can get on the Underground. I guess, what sorts of things interest you?

    Shopping?
    Historical Buildings?
    "Touristy" stuff?

    For Shopping, there's Covent Garden and Camden Markets.
    Historical stuff, I'd recommend the Tower of London. I could kill 3 hours in there. St. Pauls is also worth a visit.
    Touristy Stuff, the London Eye is pricey, but gives you a good idea of the lay of the land. From there you can walk to the Queen's place, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Square, Parliament Buildings, Westminster Abbey, etc..

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  • Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo We are only now beginning to understand the full power and ramifications of sexual intercourse Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Six wrote: »
    Sentry wrote: »
    wait... I can't help with what to do in London, but you are only giving yourself a half hour at one of the worlds busiest airports? That sounds crazy to me.

    Flight's actually at 6:30, and I'm planning on being back there by 5. If I end up a few minutes past that I'll be fine, and worst case there's a later flight to EDI I can take.

    You have to check in more than an hour and a half in advance on long haul flights usually. You'll want to check that.

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  • saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Mojo_Jojo wrote: »
    Six wrote: »
    Sentry wrote: »
    wait... I can't help with what to do in London, but you are only giving yourself a half hour at one of the worlds busiest airports? That sounds crazy to me.

    Flight's actually at 6:30, and I'm planning on being back there by 5. If I end up a few minutes past that I'll be fine, and worst case there's a later flight to EDI I can take.

    You have to check in more than an hour and a half in advance on long haul flights usually. You'll want to check that.

    He's just going to Edinburgh, apparently.

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  • SixSix Ask me about my butthole Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    saint2e wrote: »
    I'd factor in a good 45-60 minutes from Heathrow to London Paddington and vice versa if you take the rail link, just to be safe.

    From London Paddington you can get on the Underground. I guess, what sorts of things interest you?

    Shopping?
    Historical Buildings?
    "Touristy" stuff?

    For Shopping, there's Covent Garden and Camden Markets.
    Historical stuff, I'd recommend the Tower of London. I could kill 3 hours in there. St. Pauls is also worth a visit.
    Touristy Stuff, the London Eye is pricey, but gives you a good idea of the lay of the land. From there you can walk to the Queen's place, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Square, Parliament Buildings, Westminster Abbey, etc..

    Will it be faster to get into the city via train or cab?

    And yes, my flight out that night is just up to Edinburgh. I don't fly back to the states until Tuesday evening.

    I think what I'm really after is a destination from which to do a little shopping and be able to wander a bit without trying to see too much.

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  • saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    It'd probably be cheaper to do it by train...

    If you're looking to wander around, probably keeping to the area around the parliament buildings/trafalgar square/piccadilly circus is your best bet.

    Back when I was living in the UK, I usually took my visitors from Canada on a walking tour in that area..

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  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    The Tate Modern is free, large and interesting, and on the waterfront next to other interesting sights such as London Eye etc.

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  • saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    and conveniently located right across the river from St. Paul's.

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  • SixSix Ask me about my butthole Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I'm more concerned with speed than cost (since I'm not really paying for it), since I have such limited time :) But it sounds like the Heathrow express to paddington is the best choice from the reading I've been doing.

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  • TechnicalityTechnicality Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Heathrow express => very expensive but fast
    Piccadilly line tube => cheap but slow

    Heathrow express sounds like exactly what you want. Paddington is at the edge of all the interesting central stuff. I quite like walking around that area, so if it was me I'd walk through hyde park to Oxford Circus or Buckingham palace, wander to covent garden area, and then down to the river and along that.

    If you want to spend more time inside places rather than exploring, get the tube to the things you want to see.

    The london eye is supposed to be pretty good for a view of the city, but you can also see it nicely from hampstead heath (Though that's a bit off the beaten track).

    Camden is also a bit out of the way, but pretty awesome if you like browsing for knick knacks, or ordering a pint in a music shop.

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  • corcorigancorcorigan Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I'd probably wander around the Trafalgar Square/Buckingham Palace. It's a bit more distinctive than visiting the Apple shop on Regent's Street, and you get to wander around and get a feel for the place. Buy a map or something.

    I'd be a bit wary of the tube being half closed - it's all being upgraded so the service tends to be a bit flaky at weekends.

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  • GrennGrenn Registered User
    edited April 2011
    I'd second the Tate Modern - I always swing by there if I have time to kill in London.

    If you do go, definitely have a look at the Sunflower Seeds exhibit (kinda hard to miss) and watch the short video that goes along with it. I thought it was pretty amazing.

    For food I'd recommend Bodeans BBQ. http://www.bodeansbbq.com/ I am a fan of their pulled pork sandwiches.

    If you fancy a swift ale, the Ye Old Cheshire Cheese is worth a visit - apparently London's oldest pub. It's a bit touristy, but a cool building.

    Enjoy London! -- incidentally, I think Edinburgh is a great place to visit. Chances are you might enjoy it more than London!

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  • SixSix Ask me about my butthole Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Unfortunately I'm probably going to have way less time to kill in Edinburgh than I will in London. In hindsight, I wish I'd been able to budget more time for this trip.

    Thanks for the heads up about the tube - knowing there might be problems on a Sunday means I doubt I'll stray too far from Paddington so I don't run any risk of not getting back to Heathrow in time.

    Thanks for the food recommendations, too :) And the beer.

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  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    The express runs every 15 minutes I think.

    Paddington is a nice enough area, but there is not a huge amount to do around the station. You could walk down to Hyde Park (lovely in Spring), then walk along to Oxford St, or through the Park to Buckingham Palace then along Piccadilly Place to Piccadilly Circus - there are some nice shops/museums in that area.

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  • corcorigancorcorigan Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Yeah, I would definitely make it into the centre. Paddington isn't really far from the main stuff (the whole of central London is pretty crammed together).

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  • EddEdd Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    British. Museum.

    Like most major museums in the city, it's free. Moreover, it has some of the most incredible archeological attractions in Europe. You can lost there for days, never mind hours. But, this may not be your thing. I strongly recommend the Natural History Museum to see some of the best dinosaur fossils on display anywhere in the world.

    The neighborhood immediately surrounding the museum features any number of shops worth a browse as well as some good dining.

    Honestly, you can get anywhere worth going in that city inside of 45 minutes hopping the tube.

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