Flight: Meet in Chicago O'Hare airport and fly to London together. I have a family travel agent who might be able to get us a good deal out of Chicago and a ride to the hotel. If not, well, the tube goes into Heathrow and the hotel I'm looking at is like two blocks from a tube station and I can, fortunately, navigate the tube system without any problems. (unlike maps and directions as I was telling Perky tonight)
Hotel: Kensington Close. You can goggle it if you're curious. It's where I stayed last time and have nothing but good things to say about it. The in-room safe is the selling point. If they don't have those anymore, then I'll find us a place that does.
Travel around London: take a look at londonpass.com and let me know what you think. We'll be getting the pass plus travel card option. It is one of the cheapest ways to move around London. I'm not kidding, plus it saves us a bunch on things we might want to see.
Major suggestion: Get up to being able to walk at least ten miles a day without trouble. Some days it won't be that much, but others, depending on the museum or attraction we're in, it'll seem like it and I don't want any of us getting sore from this. If you take a look at my travel journal, you can see my reaction to the first few days of walking. LOL. We can break as often as need be, but I don't know about benches in some of these places.
Meals: Pubs. At least for lunch. This was actually suggested to me by a friend of mine from London and it worked out wonderfully. I would dearly love to go to the Sherlock Holmes pub if we could, but if we don't then it's okay too. The hotel does offer breakfast, which I can't eat, but I'll be bringing snack bars along. Whatever you two want to do there is fine and I'll come along and sit if you want breakfast. There's also a Whole Foods market near the hotel and we can shop there. That's my main suggestion for supper, but the High Street has a bunch of restaurants on it, and we can always get take-away or go to a restaurant if there's one you guys want to try. There is an Italian place I would love to take you to, if it's still there. Can you both do Italian?
Costs: Hotel: between $111 and $130 a night.
London Pass: $221 for six day plus travel (so $442 total)
Air: Most likely about $1000 round-trip. Travel agent might be able to help.
Misc: Meals, shopping, train tickets, misc tube tickets (to get our travel cards),
admissions to attractions that do not take the London Pass, anything else you can
think of. Water. Hotel water is from a cisturn and I got wicked sick drinking it. There's a chemist just up the road that we can get bottled water, juice, and other drinks (pop if you want) at a good rate.
There is a money changer at M&S that usually has good rates. Some places don't take overseas cards so you will need to bring cash with you, and finding an ATM is impossible.
Other suggestions: Get a travel wallet you can wear around your neck and under your shirt. It's the safest place and takes away the fear of pick-pockets. You will need ID most of the time if you want to use your card for anything. Drivers license works and passports should stay in the safe. I'll bring along a plastic zip for all our paperwork and official documents so they don't get lost. I have a power adapter for plugs, so you don't necessarily need to buy one, but can if you want to. Have good shoes. *grins* I won't stop stressing that point. This will be a ton of walking.
Suggestion list (things with stars are either must do's or items all three of us have already talked about wanting to do) When we have a moderately final list, and I say that because we can always add/subtract up to the day we want to do something, I'll plot everything out and break it into days. A lot of these things are in the same area and only take an hour or two to do.
House of Parliament
St. James's Park
Charring Cross Road (bookstores)
Tower of London*
Jack the Ripper Walk
Sherlock Holmes Museum*
Sherlock Holmes walk
British Museum* (an all day event)
Museum of London
St. Bart's Hospital*
Hamley's Toy Store (7 floors plus Build a Bear)
Natural History Museum
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum*
Speedy's Cafe (plus other Sherlock TV filming locations)*
Stonehenge and Salisbury (bookstore)* (day trip out of London. There's a pub at the station that is good, hopefully still open)
I really don't want it to seem like I'm taking over for this, but having done the trip once already, I want to put my knowledge to good use so you guys have an outstanding trip. If that makes sense. :) Okay, chime in. Let's plot.