1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

London Calling!

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Birdjaguar, Jul 18, 2019.

Tags:
  1. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Messages:
    34,738
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    I might be meeting some Chinese friends in London this fall and could use some help.

    If we stay in the city center to be within easy reach of traditional tourist sights, are there named areas (like Knightsbridge) that are better than others?

    Are cabs a reasonable way to move about or should we focus on proximity to the subway?

    What are some of the less well known, but interesting things to see within London?

    How much time (in days) should we allocate if we restrict ourselves to London and aren't in hurry?

    What are the best day or two day trips to take if we rent a car and head out of town?

    Other cool advice is welcome. Thanks.
     
  2. brennan

    brennan Argumentative Brit

    Joined:
    May 12, 2005
    Messages:
    9,024
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Worthing, Southern England
    Get an oystercard or travelcard. Then you can get as many buses or trains as you like all day, this will be a hundred times cheaper than cabs.
     
    Birdjaguar and caketastydelish like this.
  3. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Messages:
    34,738
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Where do you buy those?
     
  4. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2005
    Messages:
    21,838
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
    If you see a blue Police Box, run like hell. Since Doctor Who is actually filmed in Wales, seeing one of these in London is more likely to mean that the aliens are coming and if you don't leave NOW, you will probably die a gruesome death.
     
    Old Hippy likes this.
  5. really

    really Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2005
    Messages:
    2,830
    Location:
    Éire
    It all depends on what you want and what your budget is. Knightsbridge would be nice but probably expensive and a bit dry.
    London is big - you could spend a week there if you wanted.

    I hear Salsibury Cathedral is very popular for day trips.
    Spoiler :
    (Joke in case you book it)
     
  6. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Messages:
    53,676
    Location:
    Thessalonike, The Byzantine Empire
    -Only tourists who don't know how to use the underground will use cabs. Stay away from them. You can buy mass transit cards at any underground station.
    -Given you have a lot of money, maybe try one of the 5-star hotels in the center. Anywhere in zone1 will count as the center, and that is a lot of areas. If money is no issue, find something in Kensington/Bayswater, ie anything around Hyde Park. Kensington has hotels, not sure if Bayswater actually has large 5-star hotels.
    -There are no less known but interesting things to see in London. And if you venture (a bit) south of the Thames you run the risk of being killed or have acid thrown on you.
     
  7. EnglishEdward

    EnglishEdward Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Messages:
    3,160
    Location:
    England

    Assuming you are able bodied and can manage stairs.

    I'd say book a hotel withn 500 metres of a tube station. If you can afford it somwhere like Victoria,
    would be good because it is near a nexus of underground/overground train, bus stations, theatres.

    Not so far away Knightsbridge s good for top end shops. if you are well heeled; and also for museums.

    I'd recomend you plan on maximising the use of public transportation, namely tubes and trains.

    But make use of taxis to get from and to trains stations outside of London.

    It is not so much about cost, it is about risk, stress and time.

    London is very congested. Unless you plan on travelling at 3am in the morning, journey times are indeterminate.
    You would also be driving in an unfamiliar city on the other side of the car and on the other side of the road, the
    UK has odd traffic features such as zebra crossings and roundabouts. Drivers have no patience with strangers.
    If there is a breakdown, it can right jam up, spending three hours to cover 30 miles crossing London is not that uncommon.
    Use of mobile phone google maps breaks down very quickly, in car driving on screen navigation aids are slightly better.

    If any of you are not able bodied, it is probably best to book a good hotel with a parking or a good pick down and pick up point.
    I'd recomend you hiring a converted galaxy size mpv with an accompanying driver, for your party for the day or week or whatever.

    The UK's best natural scenery is not near London; and congestion on motorways mean travelling to West Wales
    etc can easily take a day. Best places to visit outside are historic market towns Bath/Cambridge/Norwich/Oxford etc.
    If not hiring a chaufferred mpv or minivan, best visit them by train then taxi. Buses are cheaper, but slower.
     
    Birdjaguar likes this.
  8. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Messages:
    34,738
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    @EnglishEdward Thanks; we are all able-bodied. We are looking at Air bnb places around center city. So far we have found several apartments with two bedrooms, kitchen etc. for a total of $600 for 7 nights. That seems pretty reasonable. One is next to the Tooting Broadway station and says its 20 minutes to downtown. ???
     
  9. EnglishEdward

    EnglishEdward Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Messages:
    3,160
    Location:
    England
    Although I was born in London and lived there for many years,
    I moved out to Norfolk 25 years ago, and I am now out of date.
    I cannot comment on Air bnb prices, never used it for London,

    I remember that I used to drive in my old banger past Tooting
    Broadway (popularised by a television comedy called Citizen Smith)
    30 years ago to visit girlfriends. The 20 minutes quoted is probably
    accurate for a single tube trip, but for many down town
    destinations, you'd have a long walk or need to change.

    Most of the serious crime alluded to in London is gang related.
    There are sites you can look for about current local crime rates
    .
    I guess you'd be alright there providing that you do not loiter
    there after 23:00 dressing too ostentatiously with a mug me look.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
  10. Truthy

    Truthy Titular character

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,350
    Our neighborhood Brits will know better than me, but I've been to London twice, so I'll pitch in.
    I'd strongly recommend staying in the city center. I found a very reasonably priced Airbnb a several minute walk from Trafalgar Square and I stayed there for a week. The other time I was in London I stayed in a hotel very close to Trafalgar. I think Westminster (where I was both times, which I think also includes Knightsbridge), Covent Garden, South Bank, and St. James are all good choices.

    No way. Take the Underground.

    The first time I went, I was with my family and some family friends who are British. The second time I went was with my then-gf. Both trips I spent a lot of time going to pubs, coffee shops, and restaurants and thought it was great fun. I also went to some theaters. The Jubilee market, Imperial War Museum, and Churchill War Rooms were pretty good, if any of those count as lesser known.

    For what it's worth, most of the obvious tourist attractions (British Museum, Westminster Abbey, and so on) are terrific.

    I think a week is good.

    No idea

    Hm. Definitely hit up the famous history museums and historical sites. I think you'll like them a lot. But if you're like me, you'll need to pace yourself to avoid museum fatigue. The London Eye is lame and overpriced, imo. I'll come back if I think of anything else.

    I feel like that's too far out. I'm sure you can find someplace similarly priced and closer to the city center
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
    Birdjaguar likes this.
  11. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Messages:
    53,676
    Location:
    Thessalonike, The Byzantine Empire
    That is FAR south of the Thames. I might be wrong, but I doubt there is anything half-decent there (certainly nothing for a tourist to see). Basically it would be concrete jungle, far away from central London.
    Again, if you have money, it makes no sense to stay outside zone1.
    "20 minutes to downtown" is obviously meant by train (tube). It isn't a distance you will be able to cover by walking - even if it wasn't in a bad place to begin with.

    Moreover, only one tube line gets there (The Northern Line, black in the chart).



    TLDR: I think that it is a place where people with no money would go.
     
  12. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Messages:
    34,738
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Upon checking, you are right!
     
    Kyriakos likes this.
  13. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Messages:
    53,676
    Location:
    Thessalonike, The Byzantine Empire
    See, I just saved you from having a terrible experience :)
    If you want to not spend much, maybe book at some of the small hotels in Paddington (it is in zone1, just full of smaller, non-5star hotels).
     
  14. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Messages:
    34,738
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    I checked non 5 star Paddington hotels and the difference between them and air bnb is significance is pretty huge. We are looking for two rooms so Hotels charges are doubled. With Air bnb we can find a single place with two bedrooms for half or less of a hotel and get a kitchen plus. But I'll keep looking around.
     
  15. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Messages:
    53,676
    Location:
    Thessalonike, The Byzantine Empire
    I don't think you will find (m)any rooms outside hotels in Paddington that are let for just a week. Maybe try Victoria, Bayswater, Nottinghill gate or similar. Paddington is mostly small hotels and regularly rented apartments.
    Maybe also check the massive hotel at Waterloo train station?

    Failing that, maybe some hotels in north London (zone2 or at the furthest zone3) will have rooms for something like 50-60 pounds/night? I can't know cause I only stayed there once, 20 years ago...

    Tbh, I was under the impression you were part of the 1%. If so, why not just spend the money needed to be in central London, instead of risking having to stay at a potentially dangerous area?
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
  16. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    Messages:
    27,006
    Location:
    Sydney
    London (and the south of England more generally) is one of those places you could probably spend an infinite amount of time in. You're unlikely to run out things to see & do.

    Daytrip options (or two day options) in particular are excellent. It really depends on what sort of thing you are after, but some good options in no particular order include:
    • Dover Castle (and nearby Deal & Walmer Castles)
    • Bletchley Park
    • Oxford
    • Cambridge
    • Stratford upon Avon
    • Warwick Castle
    • Leeds Castle
    • Windsor Castle
    • Highclere Castle (haven't been myself, but it's apparently great, particularly if you're a Downton Abbey fan)
    • Hampton Court Palace
    • IWM Duxford
    • Rochester
    • Chartwell
    • Bath
    • Canterbury
    • Colchester
    • Framlingham Castle
    • Audley End
    • Kenilworth Castle
    • Bodiam Castle (and nearby Scotney Castle & Sissinghurst Gardens)
    • Lille
    • Brussels
    • Bruges
    • Anywhere within 2 hours by plane.
    What type of things do you want to see/do?
     
    hobbsyoyo and Birdjaguar like this.
  17. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Messages:
    34,738
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    I don't know yet. My Chinese friends and I are in discussions. Certainly some of the in town museums. We have not decided about renting a car. What might be a nice train ride away?
     
  18. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    Messages:
    27,006
    Location:
    Sydney
    Cambridge is probably a top pick for a train daytrip. It's only about 1 hour from Kings Cross, and has a lot to see in a very compressed area. If you're there before October it also won't be very crowded.

    Brussels, Lille & Bruges are also train daytrips - about 2 hours to each from St Pancras (so is Paris, but probably not recommended as a daytrip...).

    Hampton Court Palace isn't really out of London, but it is out of the centre of London and is a good individual attraction if you would prefer that to an entire town/city.

    A lot of the castles will require car hire. Dover Castle is probably the most "must see", but also one of the less convenient visits from London.
     
    Birdjaguar likes this.
  19. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Messages:
    34,738
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    What happens in October?
     
  20. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    Messages:
    27,006
    Location:
    Sydney
    All the students arrive for the start of the uni year. Most of the attractions you are going to see are located within colleges, so although summer tourism has dropped off, you're instead competing with people who actually live and study there.
     
    Birdjaguar likes this.

Share This Page