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For repeat London visitors - How do you spend your time?

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118 posts
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For repeat London visitors - How do you spend your time?

After having such a positive response in the Paris forums, I thought I'd post something similar here for London.

I'm lucky enough to be returning to London in April next year for the third time. I'm curious, as so many of you have been multiple times (and a few make an annual excursion!), how do you like to spend your time there after you've already "checked off the tourist list" as it were?

Looking forward to hearing your favorite spots!

33 replies to this topic
Kingston upon...
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1. Re: For repeat London visitors - How do you spend your time?

Ham House near Richmond upon Thames is worth seeing, as it Kew Gardens also near Richmond.

In the same area there is also the National Archives at Kew, for people who ancestors might have been British.

Harrow, United...
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2. Re: For repeat London visitors - How do you spend your time?

I'm not sure 'checked off the tourist list' is possible? I mean London is blessed with museums (some take many days to see everything in detail), numerous galleries, so many parks, so many national trust properties, markets of all sorts, 2 major shopping malls plus shops to suit all budgets, so many theatres and shows, more live music and comedy venues than is possible to see in a month.

I have lived full time in London for 6 years now and still not seen everything although admittedly I generally only have weekends free.

Halifax, NS
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3. Re: For repeat London visitors - How do you spend your time?

I guess I should answer this because I've been to London 35 times, for periods varying from 1 week to 3 months.

What I do has varied over the years, although I've always visited the flea/antique markets every visit. Early on, it was mostly tourist sights, from the usual ones to most of the minor ones. Until a few years ago when I developed an allergy to scents, I'd always go to the theatre - as many as 9 plays in 7 days. And I'd take 1 or more day trips. For a number of years, I'd hop on one tube line or another, go to the end of the line, come up to the surface and explore wherever I was. In my fifties, I started taking classes related to my hobbies and have made some good friends that way. And I revisited some of the major tourist sights that I hadn't been to for 20 years. I'm now in my mid 70s and for the last 10 years, things have changed. It takes me much longer to get over jet lag and I need to take days off. I usually go in Oct. so that I can go to the Knitting & Stitching Show at the Alexandra Palace, replenish my stash and take 2 or 3 classes. I still go to a couple of markets, but not as many as I used to. (I really don't need any more stuff!) I visit favourite pubs, see any special exhibits that interest me, go to a TALF Pub Night, get together with friends, and just live - doing whatever takes my fancy when I wake up in the morning. I helps that I usually travel solo to London, so I can do what I want, when I want, and if I want.

I wasn't able to make it to London this year but there's always 2019.

London, United...
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4. Re: For repeat London visitors - How do you spend your time?

Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath. It is free with a very good art gallery and cafe and restaurant.

The Mall Galleries on the Mall. Lovely small art gallery.

Hatfield House. Directly opposite Hatfield station in Hertfordshire. Stately home with gardens plus stables area with cafe and restaurant and shop.

A day trip to Cambridge or Oxford. One hour by train.

New Mexico
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5. Re: For repeat London visitors - How do you spend your time?

I like to walk along the Thames. My favorite stretches are from Putney Bridge to Kingston upon Thames.

It’s fun to head out on a nice day and stop someplace new for lunch.

If I get tired, public transport is always nearby for the trip home.

Greater Manchester...
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6. Re: For repeat London visitors - How do you spend your time?

<<after you've already "checked off the tourist list">> I've been to London 100+ times and am still checking off interesting new things from the list.

What I do on each visit is to repeat some items I've previously enjoyed and then do a few more new ones.

Eg in past two years the "new" items I've explored include Sky Garden, Liberty's, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Hampton Court Palace, Kew Gardens, Bletchley Park, Churchill War Rooms, guided tour inside Wimbledon Tennis Club, tour inside Albert Hall, tour inside Theatre Royal Drury Lane, guided tour inside Lords Cricket Ground, tour inside Houses of Parliament, City Cruises on the Thames (the last two were new to my wife, I'd done them once before), Abbey Road Crossing, visiting St Pancras Station to see the refurbed architecture, Platform 9&3/4, the Globe, the walk along South Bank..

In your two visits have you been to places like Greenwich & Windsor, major items on the tourist list but just away from central London so you might not have yet checked them off..

Kingston upon...
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7. Re: For repeat London visitors - How do you spend your time?

@ 5 I was thinking of suggesting a visit to Kingston, but last time I did that I got shot down.

I did that walk some years ago as part of a charity walk, we started off somewhere in Putney

& went via Kingston up to Hampton Court Palace

Edited: 14 October 2018, 20:18
Level Contributor
118 posts
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8. Re: For repeat London visitors - How do you spend your time?

"I'm not sure 'checked off the tourist list' is possible?"

I meant the sort of loosely, repeatedly advised list of "highlights" -- you know, the sorts of list one gives out when someone says they've three days or a week in London. Certainly London has enough to keep someone busy with sights for months if not years. But I think there may be more than just the major attractions that people may like to spend their time doing, or maybe not? I'm just quite curious. :)

N. Idaho
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9. Re: For repeat London visitors - How do you spend your time?

Hopped over here from your Paris thread. I also love London Walks like I enjoy the Paris Walks.

I do targeted re-visits to the big museums like British Museum and V&A - just popping in to see certain sections. This is much easier in London as they are free as opposed to Paris where you need the Museum Pass to make this strategy effective.

In April, if you haven't been to Kew Gardens, definitely consider that for a day trip.

I also have enjoyed the smaller museums such as the Duke of Wellington's town house, Apsley House ( https:/… ) and Sir John Soane's Museum (https://www.soane.org/ ). I enjoyed the Hunterian Museum which is across the park from Sir John Soane's but I think it's closed for reno for a few years.

On my list are Lambeth Palace (not open for tours very frequently), Leighton House Museum (near Holland Park in Kensington). the London Wetlands Centre and the Garden Museum.

Out of London trips that are on my "To Do List" include Bletchley Park and would like to catch the London Walks day trip to Constable Country (Colchester) some time.

I also like the blog called A Lady in London. She has some interesting self guided walks. I did one thru Kensington a couple of years ago thru some Mews' and smaller streets that was fun.

Have a terrific time on your re-visit! I'll enjoy seeing what others contribute to your thread so I can add to my list, hahaha!

Missouri USA
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10. Re: For repeat London visitors - How do you spend your time?

In 2011, I found some printed brochures in the TIC by St. Paul's (I don't know if it is still there or if TFL still prints brochures) of the bus routes. They were large with plenty of detail of different sections of London. I started to ride the buses (on the top, of course) to see different parts of London that are not normally on tourist routes. That was a lot of fun.

I also got a list of the remaining churches in the City and started visiting each one. I am half way through the list. I discovered that many have noon-time concerts or interesting displays. St. Magnus the Martyr is a MUST if it still has the model of the medieval London Bridge.

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