See my post on planning for St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Ireland here. As a recap, I am visiting London, England; Belfast, Northern Ireland; and Dublin, Ireland in March. I will be in London March 11 to 14.
Planning for London, England for the first half of my trip in March was a lot less stressful. While March Break is fairly common for tourists to travel, it won’t be nearly as packed in London as it will be in Dublin for the St. Patrick’s Day Festival. So, with my flights booked, I started researching what I could do in London.
I looked into buying the London City Pass since I enjoyed the Reykjavik City Card so much (see my post here about what I used the City Card for). There were many benefits to the London card (line skip, included admission to many top tourist attractions, a boat cruise on the Thames River) but I decided NOT to get the card and here’s why:
- The London City Pass is only activated for DAYS not hours. This means that if I use the 2-day pass at 4 pm on Saturday, the pass expires at 11:59 pm Sunday;
- I would have 2 full days in London with 2 half days (approximately March 11 at noon to March 14 at noon). If I bought the 2-day pass, one of my full days in London is a Sunday and many attractions have reduced hours. I could buy the 1-day pass but I would have to go to three top tourist attractions to get my money’s worth;
- There are so many free museums and places to visit in London;
- I can visit many of the top attractions (Buckingham Palace, Westminster Church, Tower of London) and can decide in the moment if I want to wait in line and pay the entrance fee (I probably won’t);
- The London Eye is not included;
- I had to pay more than 3 times the price for a room in Dublin which cut into my extra spending money. By limiting myself to attend free events/museums/attractions I should still be able to stay within my budget for the whole trip but still fill my days with things to do.
I found this list of 101 free things to do in London online which would be way too many things to do in my 3 days in London. To trim the list, I removed festivals (they weren’t taking place in March), most parks (it won’t be great weather to sit in the park), things I wasn’t interested in visiting, places that were closed when I am visiting or places that were far from most places on the list. That reduced the list from 101 to 73 with 6.5 hours of walking a day.
I am also a huge Harry Potter fan and very much enjoy the Sherlock Holmes BBC show so I researched places to visit since both of those have ties to London. There are a ton of walking tours you can pay for but in the interest of saving money I’m going to check them out myself and add them in to the list of places I’m visiting anyways! Some of the places I’ll visit are:
- Leadenhall Market (Harry Potter). The Diagon Alley scenes were filmed here and the door to the Leaky Cauldron is in the mall too!
- Millennium Bridge (Harry Potter). The bridge collapsed at the beginning of the sixth book.
- Wesminster Tube (Harry Potter). Closest tube to the Ministry of Magic in the fifth movie.
- 221B Baker Street (Sherlock Homes). Sherlock Holmes’ place of residence.
- Speedy’s Cafe (Sherlock Homes). Sherlock and John are seen in the cafe in a few episodes.
So, with all of these together I mapped out routes for four days in London. I can’t wait!