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London Tour

You have 2.5 hours to show someone around London. S/he has never been here before. Where do you take them and how do you get there?

(In this particular case, it was a medievalist. Tailoring the tour to a medievalist is an optional extra in this question, however.)

Where we went
A quick glimpse of the Tower of London while changing between Tower Gateway and Tower Hill
(Circle/District to Victoria. Then all walking.)
Buckingham Palace
St. James Park
Westminster Abbey
Houses of Parliament
Look at the London Eye from across the river
Up along Whitehall past Downing St.
Trafalagar Square
A quick stop in the National Gallery to see the Wilton Diptych
Leicester Square
British Museum with quick stops at the Rosetta Stone, Elgin Marbles, Franks casket, Lewis chessmen, and the Mildenhall Treasure
And then we were out of time.

Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
black_faery
Dec. 12th, 2007 11:06 am (UTC)
Wow - speed tour! *grins*
coughingbear
Dec. 12th, 2007 12:22 pm (UTC)
Am amazed you got all that in, and I like your choices - I too would want to include the Wilton diptych (also Pisanello's Vision of St Eustace, one of my favourite paintings), and the Lewis chessmen in any highlights of London tour.
owlfish
Dec. 12th, 2007 05:58 pm (UTC)
We didn't actually go inside anything other than the National Gallery or the British Museum - merely the outsides of buildings. Most of them would have involved too much expense or prior organization to go inside. The problem of speed tourism would be rather different if we were trying to fit in the interiors too!

I had to look up the Pisanello piece, but yes! It's a lovely painting!

haggisthesecond
Dec. 12th, 2007 01:13 pm (UTC)
wow, you must have been walking fast!
owlfish
Dec. 12th, 2007 05:58 pm (UTC)
We were - but it was worth it.
kukla_red
Dec. 12th, 2007 01:59 pm (UTC)
So... the next time I come to London can you AND Tal be my tour guides? Pretty please? I've already done the Eye so we don't have to repeat it.

Edited at 2007-12-12 02:02 pm (UTC)
owlfish
Dec. 12th, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC)
It's even easier to be a tour guide if the guidee has more than 2.5 hours available for it! I rather like tour guiding - my knowledge of many of the sites is limited, but it's an excellent excuse for me to get to be a tourist now and again.
kukla_red
Dec. 12th, 2007 09:28 pm (UTC)
I only had one evening and a Saturday to be tourist when I was there in August. But we covered a fair amount of ground, given the circumstances. There was SO much more I wanted to see and do. Sigh. I hope my next trip has more free time and less time in the bloody office!
noncalorsedumor
Dec. 12th, 2007 04:07 pm (UTC)
Wow, you saw quite a bit!

Westminster Abbey is one of my favorite places on the planet. I'd be happy if I spent all my London visits there.
owlfish
Dec. 12th, 2007 05:59 pm (UTC)
We didn't actually go inside Westminster Abbey. At 10 pounds, it didn't seem worth it just for five minutes, which is all we could have allocated for it. (It really is lovely inside though, though rather cluttered. Of course, the clutter is part of why it's worth seeing, given what kind of clutter it is.)
noncalorsedumor
Dec. 12th, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC)
Absolutely! It's a shame you only had five minutes to spare. :-( I've only been once--my second time in London I didn't get to go--but I could easily spend a week there.
sollersuk
Dec. 12th, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC)
My word, that was fast. Good choice of places close together. With a full day I would probably have thrown in the Tower of London and the Museum of London, but they'd be too far from the rest for a short, short tour.
owlfish
Dec. 12th, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC)
Given more time, I'd actually go inside Westminster Abbey and see more than one piece in the National Gallery. Going inside the Tower of London is a good choice too - also, that'll give a chance to see Tower Bridge, which we couldn't really with the bulk of the Tower in the way.

If I had more time still, my next vote is for a walk along the South Bank, especially the bit between Southwark Cathedral and the Tate Modern, taking in the Globe along the way, and possibly ending up at St. Paul's. It gets in a bit more of the modern side of London along with a sense for how rich the terrain is with older buildings and remains (i.e. Winchester Palace).

Many people go on the Eye when they visit these days (I extrapolate from my own visitors), but that's only good if it's a clear day. Actually, the Eye is better for people who already know the city, I believe, as it's a more meaningful experience.
gillo
Dec. 12th, 2007 06:32 pm (UTC)
That's impressive. (I thought the Wilton Diptych was in the NPG though. What is it I'm thinking of?)

I think I might have skipped Buck House and gone for a walk up Regent's Street and on to Regent's Park Circle - better architecture. But that was one heck of a lightning tour - and must have been hard on the shoe leather!
owlfish
Dec. 12th, 2007 07:43 pm (UTC)
I've never seen it there. It's in the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery.

I like the Buck House/St. James Park loop as an easy way of incorporating a sense of how much park and green there is centrally located in London. Regent's Street has better architecture, but there's enough of an ambient sample along the route anyways to give a sense of the city's diversity, if not necessary particularly fine examples of all of it.
justinsomnia
Dec. 13th, 2007 12:33 am (UTC)
Speaking of London ... will you still be there next July? I'll be in town for a conference, and I would love a tour!

I have been to London before, but not for several years, so I'd definitely have a new perspective on everything now.
keira_online
Dec. 14th, 2007 08:12 pm (UTC)
I'm rather partial to the square mile on a sunday. Lovely architecture (especally the old Lloyds buidling and the Mounument) and all slightly sppoky because there's no one else around.
I have done the same walk as you've listed before. It certainly provides an excellent "snapshot".
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )