Last summer Joe and I took the Rick Steves’ Paris and the Heart of France in 11 Days Tour and it was such an amazing experience, not to mention worth every penny! As soon as we returned home, I was chomping at the bit to schedule our next tour. We reviewed our schedules, comparing them to the tour options available and signed up for the Rick Steves’ Best of London in 7 Days Tour! During the month of June I will be blogging about our travel preparations and sharing helpful travel tips, videos, podcasts, etc. Here’s our travel itinerary for the tour! Cheerio! 😉
Daily Activity Key
- Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
- Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
- Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.
Day 1: Welcome to London
We’ll meet at our hotel in central London at 4 p.m. this afternoon to get acquainted. Then we’ll set off on a neighborhood walk, Underground/Tube orientation, followed by a traditional Sunday roast dinner together. Walking: light.
Day 2: Whitehall and the National Gallery
This morning we’ll begin with a history-laced walking tour along Whitehall, from Big Ben and the Westminster Houses of Parliament to the Renaissance-inspired Banqueting House, punctuated by the smartly-dressed, stony-faced Horse Guards. We’ll continue on to learn about the adventures of Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Square and enjoy a guided tour of the National Gallery’s masterpieces, including works by Leonardo, Botticelli, Turner and the Impressionists. After lunch, we’ll visit the Churchill War Rooms, where we’ll get the inside story on the London Blitz and Britain’s leadership during WWII on our guided tour. This would be a perfect evening for the theater (book something in advance from the Colonies or pick up a ticket in London). Walking: strenuous.
Day 3: The Tower and Westminster Abbey
This morning we’ll head out early to witness the opening ceremony at the Tower of London. Our early arrival will leave us first in line to join a Yeoman Warder “Beefeater” for an entertaining tour and a peek at the legendary Crown Jewels. After lunch, we’ll hop aboard a boat on the Thames and cruise past monuments, skyscrapers and cathedrals on our way to tour the majestic Westminster Abbey, where England’s kings and queens have been crowned and buried since 1066. A thousand years of English history lie within its stained-glass splendor and under its stone slabs. We’ll finish the day enjoying England’s favorite ethnic food with an Indian dinner together. Boat: ½ hr. Walking: strenuous.
Day 4: St. Paul’s Cathedral and The City
This morning we’ll tour England’s national church — Christopher Wren’s majestically-domed St. Paul’s Cathedral — and hear how local “fire watcher” volunteers saved this symbol of British resolve during the bombing raids of WWII. Then we’ll continue on with a walking tour of The City, the oldest part of London and now its financial heart. After our pub lunch together at The Counting House (an elegant former bank), your afternoon is free to enjoy one of London’s many museums (perhaps the Victoria and Albert Museum) or take a leisurely stroll through one of the many beautiful parks. This is another good night for the theater. Walking: moderate.
Day 5: Historic Windsor Castle
Today we’ll catch a train and head out of town to Windsor Castle, the largest and oldest castle residence in the world. We’ll spend the morning touring the Royal Family’s castle, ornate St. George’s Chapel and the surrounding park. The remainder of the day is yours for poking around the quaint town of Windsor or for more sightseeing back in London. Train: 2 hrs. Walking: moderate.
Day 6: The British Museum and Library
This morning we’ll dive into the treasures of the British Library, including the Magna Carta, Gutenberg’s Bible — even Beatles lyrics! Then we’re off to tour the British Museum and the chronicle of Western Civilization — the Elgin marbles, Rosetta Stone, mummies and more. The rest of your afternoon is free for the Imperial War Museum, shopping around Covent Garden, or other sightseeing. Before meeting for our “last supper,” we’ll admire the city and raise a toast to new friends aboard the London Eye. Cheers! Walking: strenuous.
Day 7: Tour Over After Breakfast
Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. Heathrow and Gatwick airports can be easily reached by Tube, train or bus from our London neighborhood. For those not ready to return home yet, London is a great jumping off point to Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam and many other exciting destinations. Cheerio!