Possible London trip next month: ?'s

Discussion in 'Travel' started by Shane, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. Shane

    Shane Active Member

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    I'm 95% sure that we're going to London for a 5 days in Mid to Late May (around the 20th or so). We're probably staying at Hilton Metropole. I don't know if that's centrally located or not but it's where we're staying. The map shows it's located in Paddington just north of Hyde Park.

    My wife is going to a conference and I'm tagging along. While she's spending time at the conference, I'm going to head out and see the sights. Given that 5 days isn't a ton of time, what tourist traps should I focus on? Is there a decent site out there to point me in the right direction?

    Since I won't have a car and we'll be dependent on public transport, I assume a simple subway pass will suffice (much like it does for when I visit and tour NYC) or is it different in London? How much should i expect to pay?

    If you have any other tips/suggestions, i'm all ears.
     
  2. chad

    chad Well-Known Member Top Poster

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    Shane, When we looked at going to Ireland / London for the honeymoon I found, what I think, to be one of the better ways to see the city. They have the hop on hop off tours. I think it was roughly $20 a person and goes pretty much everywhere you could want to see. Most of the big stuff is "pretty" close to each other anyway.

    With the tour, you also got a river ride and a ticket for the eye.

    I would also want to find my way up to Abbey Road. There's a cool Beatles Tour up in Liverpool
    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attracti...ystery_Tour-Liverpool_Merseyside_England.html

    Have fun man!
     
  3. brianca

    brianca Active Member

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    I really enjoyed the National Gallery last time I was there.
     
  4. GaryAR

    GaryAR Member

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    Last time I was in London I did a small bus tour out to Stonehenge, Salisbury, and Avebury and it was awesome. Only 8 or so people on the bus so we all got to know each other, and since it was basically a van we took back roads instead of the highway (which every other tour company is forced to do with large coaches). Astral, who ran the tour, shut down but it looks like another company has taken over their "stones & bones" tour which I went on. This is a great way to get out and see some of the countryside without the bother of renting a car or anything, it goes to some amazing sights and lunch is at a really famous country pub.

    Apart from that the British Museum is a must (and free too), and so is Westminster Abbey where Darwin & Newton are entombed with scores of other famous historical figures. There are so many sights to see in London... Tower of London, Trafalgar, Picadilly, Camden Town, Parliament... my god I love that city.

    For practical advice... take the train (i.e. Heathrow Express) to & from the airport and never take cabs. Okay, maybe once to say you've see the inside of one and talked to one of their ridiculously knowledgeable cabbies, but otherwise stick to walking and the tube.

    Gary
     
  5. Allen

    Allen Active Member

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    We went to the Queen's Chapel for Sunday church and heard a fabulous version of "A Spotless Rose" during Advent. It's near Buckingham Palace; very modern, except for the one part the Germans didn't bomb to smithereens in WWII (so they rebuilt around that part); has all the regiments' flags from 600-700 years back hanging from the walls on both sides. There's a cool little military history museum next door, too.

    I'll second Tower of London, British History Museum, Westminster Abbey, and add St. Paul's Cathedral and Harrod's Department Store is a visual treat too.

    There are double-decker tour buses you can take to get the lay of the land above ground; then take the subway pretty much anywhere you need to get.
     
  6. brianca

    brianca Active Member

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    Mind the Gap
     
  7. GHilinski

    GHilinski Well-Known Member

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    spent a week in london last year...bring a lot of money, rain gear and a lot of money. Martini at the madarin hotel - $40 sans hooker. not as bad this year due to the exchange rate. Windsor castle is nothing short of amazing. Go to Nubu with your mortgage payment just to people watch with the russians and shieks that own the whole city. London is a cool city, very clean but crazy expensive. Go to boston and have a really great time for nothing....
     
  8. GHilinski

    GHilinski Well-Known Member

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    clarify....known spot for trolling...I did not partake...
     
  9. Shane

    Shane Active Member

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    We're going to Boston in July I think. This was more of an unplanned pleasant surprise.
     
  10. Zak

    Zak Well-Known Member

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    I as well simply loved London. Spent 4 or 5 days there about 13 years ago and upset I have not returned since then. As others have said make sure to bring a lot of money as it is expensive. I personally loved the Tower of London and Harrods. You have to take a cab around Big Ben/Parliament just to say "Hey Kids... Big Ben....Parliament....."

    City is very clean, shockingly so.
     
  11. claud

    claud Well-Known Member Donor

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    My son and I are going the end of June/first of July to watch the Wimbledon finals at centre court. I added an extra two days to see a bit of London. We are staying at the Cumberland near Marble Arch. I just bought $500 in British money today for arrival funds(tips, drinks train from Heathrow, etc) . The exchange rate is still decent.
     
  12. Stefan

    Stefan Active Member

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    Nothing against London, but I'd prefer to head to Waterloo, hop on the eurostar, and check out Brussles.

    Stefan
     
  13. GaryAR

    GaryAR Member

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    $500 is about right for arrival... that might just get you from the airport to your first drink in the hotel lobby :)

    Gary
     
  14. Shane

    Shane Active Member

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    Arrival funds?
     
  15. Shane

    Shane Active Member

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  16. Shane

    Shane Active Member

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    Well, I'm going for sure now. The week of the 17th of May. Now to get serious about my research on site seeing and other touristy activities to do.
     
  17. claud

    claud Well-Known Member Donor

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    The last time I was there was 1970, with my Mother. I was 22. Having done Germany, Italy etc in 08, by my calculations, I should have enough left over from the $500 for the boy and I to have a cold one about 10am in the hotel bar, if its open.
     
  18. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

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    Better bring a grand, just to be sure.
     
  19. Shane

    Shane Active Member

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    Gary and claud,
    What do you mean by "arrival funds"?
     
  20. GaryAR

    GaryAR Member

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    Just being smart asses, and alluding to the fact that London is brutally expensive.

    Best bet is either to take out cash in fairly big chunks to minimize atm fees or get a credit card with no international surcharges. A cab ride from Heathrow to central London can run upwards of £100 (not kidding... actually a friend of mine got stuck in traffic and he barely made his flight after a £150 cab ride) so definitely pack light & take the Heathrow Express. And your hotel is in a great location... so print some walking maps and explore the city by foot - most of the "must see" things in London will be in walking distance for you. I had never heard of the London Pass but it looks like a great deal. Finally, as far as food goes stick with ethnic food as it's a lot less expensive and better tasting.

    Gary
     

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