Steam in London: help me prioritize

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Greg_Lewis
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Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by Greg_Lewis » Wed May 29, 2019 10:39 pm

Hi folks. In a previous thread I asked for your advice on steam stuff to see in London. Now I hope you can help me set some priorities. We’ll only be there for three days (we’re just passing through en route elsewhere) but there is more to see that we can fit in. So what do you think is best?

Here are the options:
Crossness Pumping Station
Science Museum
The Royal Observatory at Greenwich
The London Museum of Water and Steam
And wifey wants to go to The British Museum, which I wouldn’t mind seeing. She can do this on her own if necessary.

There is no way we can get to all of this in three days. Crossness will be open 11 - 2 on one of the days; I might be able to to fit something else in. All of these are scattered around geographically and I don't know what it would take to get from one to the other, but I'm willing to use taxis as they're faster than public transport. Are any of these only worth an hour or two? What would you leave out? What’s most important to a steam fan and astronomy buff (but steam is a higher priority — I think could live without Greenwich, but I don’t think I want to miss Crossness)?

Help please!
Greg Lewis, Prop.
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MsChrissi
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by MsChrissi » Wed May 29, 2019 10:57 pm

Don't miss the Science Museum.

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NP317
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by NP317 » Wed May 29, 2019 11:08 pm

Miss your airplane home and stay longer!
~RN

wms6
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by wms6 » Wed May 29, 2019 11:28 pm

My dad used to live just a handful of miles up the road from Crossness. I'd do that and the science museum for sure.
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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by Greg_Lewis » Wed May 29, 2019 11:37 pm

Thanks, folks. I'm starting to think that we may miss Greenwich. Your thoughts on that?
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of non-interchangeable parts.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

JoeKahan
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by JoeKahan » Thu May 30, 2019 1:26 am

Oh Greg, you don't have enough time. I agree with NP317. You're already there, stay longer if at all possible. Some places I've been and enjoyed;
Isle of Wight steam railway, https://www.iwsteamrailway.co.uk/
The Great Little Trains of Wales, https://www.greatlittletrainsofwales.co.uk/
Of the Welsh trains, I've had the pleasure of visiting The Welsh Highland, The Ffestiniog, The Talyllyn, The Vale of Rheidol, and The Welshpool & Llanfair. I especially enjoyed an impromptu tour of the shops at Welshpool & Llanfair given by an employee when I asked. I would have liked to spend a week or more at each of these railroads. An added bonus if you're able to visit the Isle of Wight is that it's a 15 minute hovercraft ride across the straight from Portsmouth. Another pretty neat mode of travel.
Enjoy & have a safe trip.
Joe
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Glenn Brooks
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by Glenn Brooks » Thu May 30, 2019 1:29 am

Gregg,

Have you been to London before and seen all the sites? Also, where are you staying, and from what direction would you head out in the morning? Location can make a big difference as you arrange your daily itinerary. Central London itself is a very concentrated place - easy walking distance between each of the major sites. greater London - well you need the train and underground to easily get into and out of the City.

If this is your first trip, Personally, above all the steam sites, I would spend one notable day sightseeing around central London - making a walking tour of Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guard, then through St Peters park adjacent to the palace, leading to the Royal Guards Cavalry Parade, around the corner to Whitehall and #10 Downing Street, then on to Westminster Palace (Parliament Building and Big Ben) then across the street to Westminster Abby. A self guided tour through Westminister Abby is unforgettable. From there up the street and around the corner to Trafalgar Square and the national Gallery (which I believe is part of the British Museum, but physically separate). The National Gallery is on the west side of Trafalgar Square. You can have lunch or afternoon tea at St Martins in the Field church, on the right side of the square. The church is a small, ancient and historic structure with a supberb public cafe down in the basement. Wonderful tea and crumpets place. The National Gallery isn’t steam related, but when we wandered in to look around, I was awe struck by their magnificent collection of Old Masters - renown works of art from the Middle Ages and renaissance. Couldn’t believe it. This covers most of Central London, and it would take you a full day to see it all - but the collection of sites, and 1000 years of English history in such a small area is humbling, and magnificent, to say the least.

EDIT: thinking about it, You could easily visit Greenwich, in half a day, then take in one or more steam sites the other half. definitely taking in the National Observatory, visiting both the Eastern and Western hemispheres in the same instant, then boarding the Cutty Sark tea clipper which is preserved in the market area along the Thames, right in the Village, and maybe across to the Navy Dockyards and Naval Museum located next door. Greenish is very easy to get to on the Underground - just take the Docklands Light Railway or the Jubilee Line on the Underground. Or catch a river taxi one way and train or underground the other direction. Depends on where your lodgings are...

Also On the third day, you could catch up on steam sites and split the day with the National Museum.

A note on travel - the underground (mind the gap) is a very convenient way to get around. It will take you nearly anywhere you want to go in central london and main outlying areas. No need for a taxi. (Time consuming and needlessly expensive) You can buy a visitor Oyster card and use it for travel fare on all the public transportation routes, including Thames River water taxi’s train, bus, and underground. Swipe it in and out of each station. It comes pre loaded with credit when you buy it and saves 50% over cash fares. If you run out, just reload at any underground station.

Also, Victoria (Train) Station is a must stop in its own right. You will be amazed at the place.

Here in America, usually when you go to a museum, or some attraction, that’s all there is to see. In London, when you go visit an attraction, you will find 5, or 6, or a dozen other amazing things to see next door, right around the corner, or even on the same grounds!

Have a great trip!

Glenn
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MsChrissi
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by MsChrissi » Thu May 30, 2019 9:35 am

If your wife is with you, spend an hour in Harrod's, she won't regret it =)

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NP317
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by NP317 » Thu May 30, 2019 9:43 am

Of course I always vote to visit Greenwich, because it is of global significance.

In 1997 I visited Victoria Station with my then 13-year old son. It was the first evening of a 13-day UK trip.
As we wandered out onto a platform we heard a steam whistle.
A gorgeous Pacific pulling a compliment of heritage carriages steamed into the station, and stopped right in front of us! Perfect.
My son commented: "This is going to be a good trip."
Understatement.
~RN

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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by Glenn Brooks » Thu May 30, 2019 9:59 am

+1 for Harrods!
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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by Greg_Lewis » Thu May 30, 2019 10:06 am

Thanks for all your thoughtful comments, folks. I should have mentioned in my first post that this is our fourth visit to London and that's why I'm concentrating on the steam stuff that I've not been able to visit before. We've done many of the other things including Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, St. James Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Tower bridge (and that steam equipment) etc. And we've minded the gap! (The underground.) Unfortunately, London isn't the purpose of our trip and we can't add time there. We'll be in Ireland for two weeks, up near Birmingham visiting friends, and down south where we'll ride the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway. So I'm stuck with three days to see the stuff listed in my o.p. Thanks again for your thoughts.
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of non-interchangeable parts.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

BarryS
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by BarryS » Thu May 30, 2019 4:37 pm

I have been to all the sites you mentioned. Crossness is only open limited times but is well worth a visit. It is a little difficult to get to from central London. The London Museum of Water and Steam (formerly Kew Bridge Steam Museum) is a must see and easy to get to using London Overground. The Science Museum is very good but a shell of it’s former self.

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