I leave on Wednesday afternoon for London for the European Science Blogging conference, sponsored by NATURE — wow, I can hardly believe this day is almost here! To say that I am very stressed out is an understatement. The thing that bothers me most is the fact that I have no vacation planning experience, so I am learning as I go, and even though I have a steep learning curve, there are only so many hours in a day, which means that even though I am learning more about what I should be doing, I don’t have the time to accomplish everything before I leave.
First and foremost: planning what I will do from one day to the next. There are so many things to see and do, and so little time! Fortunately, most of the museums are free in London, so I am not expected to spend $30 or more every time I go to see Renoir or Monet or van Gogh! And believe me, I want to see them all, too.
There are a few attractions that I’d like to see that charge admirably large admission fees; the London (Regent’s Park) Zoo, Big Ben, Kensington Palace and the London Eye, for example.
So far, I have only one day specifically planned;
- Natural History Museum — free [at least 3 hours] open 10am – 550pm daily (South Kensington tube station).
- Science Museum — free [at least 3 hours] open 10am-6pm daily (South Kensington tube station).
- Victoria & Albert Museum — free [at least 3 hours] open 10am-6pm daily, except Wednesday, when it is open 10am-10pm (South Kensington tube station).
Other than that, I am tentatively planning to visit;
- Museum of London — free [at least 1 hour] in the City (St Pauls’ tube station).
- Bank of England Museum — free [1 hour] open 10am-5pm, closed weekends in the City (Bank street tube station).
- Imperial War museum — free [at least 2 hours] (Lambeth North tube station).
- National Portrait Gallery — free [? hours?]
- Tate Modern — free [? hours?]
- Tate Britain — free [? hours?]
- British Museum (I am especially interested in their FREE “American Scene” exhibition since they include one of my favorite artists; Hopper.
- Buckingham Palace
- Big Ben
- London Bridge
My strategy is to visit nearby sites on the same day to make the most use of my time and energy.
I also plan to pursue my little Harry Potter film sites tour idea. Originally, I planned to fit those sites in with other things I was seeing and doing in their respective areas, but a few people are interested in going along with me, so I am now thinking about making this into a day tour, with probably a fair amount of walking involved to get a feel for the neighborhoods.