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London suggestions - Travel / Accom / Food / Beer etc

In advance of the Halloween Special (When donkeys have nightmares...), thought it would be useful to set up a thread with tips and hints for the London weekend. (I've lived in both London and SF, so hopefully this is helpful.)

Please chip in with further ideas

Travel to London
London has 5 airports; direct flights from SFO go to Heathrow. Currently BA, Virgin and United fly direct. Gatwick Airport also has flights from the US - mainly East Coast. (BTW if you are thinking of redeeming miles, you might need to try routing via LA as award availability is usually better.)

To get from Heathrow into London, take the Piccadilly Line (40 mins, underground) or Heathrow Express (15 mins, overground). Piccadilly line is much cheaper and is covered by Travelcard (see next).

Travel within London
Public transport is comprehensive and fairly reliable. 'Travelcards' cover all tubes, buses and some overland rail. Available for 1 or 7 days, these can be bought from any tube station. (Many convienience stores also sell them.) Example; £25.80 7 days for central zones 1 & 2.

London transport site: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/
Travelcard pricing: http://visitorshop.tfl.gov.uk/english/travelcards/product/Anytime-7-Day-Travelcard.htm
Tube map: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/standard-tube-map.pdf

Don't hire a car - parking is limited and expensive. And we drive on the correct side of the road...

Accomodation
Strongly recommend staying in Central London. There will be very little to do at Wembley when the game is not on, and frankly, it's not a great suburb. Since it's not hard to find an expensive hotel on Expedia or Kayak, I'll only paste links for a couple of the budget chains - both have multiple sites in London.

http://www.travelodge.co.uk/explore_the_uk/index.php
http://www.premierinn.com/en/home.action

Getting to Wembley
Get the tube to Wembley Park - served by Jubilee and Metropolitan Lines. Alternatively, take overland train from Marylebone to Wembley Stadium. Wembley is in Zone 4.

Eating / drinking
I'll add to this later...

Other sport
If you want to take in some football / soccer, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Fulham and West Ham are all in the Premier League. Fixture lists for the 10/11 season will be published in June. Tickets are typically £40-£50 but can be hard to get.

Other stuff in London
A couple of tips here rather than a full list;

Museums: Strongly recommend The Cabinet War rooms if you're into history - Churchill ran WWII from here. Located on Horseguards Parade by St James' Park. The Natural History Museum and Science Museum are both good - next to each other in South Kensington. The British Museum is full of stuff we, erm, 'borrowed' from other parts of the world. (Like Athens. And ancient Egypt.)

Art: The National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery are both free and next to each other on Trafalgar Square. Tate Modern on the Southbank is also worth a visit.

Southbank: The south side of the River Thames between Westminster and Tower bridge is a long strip with loads of restuarants, bars, Shakespeares Globe, Tate Modern, museums etc etc. Very good for wandering.

Outside London
Oxford and Cambridge are easy day trips - about an hour by train. Windsor is about 30 minutes - all are good for a bit of history and 'Britishness'.
Don't bother with Stonehenge - it's a few rocks in a field. Waste of time.

Paris and Brussels are both about 2 hours on the train. www.eurostar.com
[ Edited by London9er on Feb 2, 2010 at 10:00 AM ]
Any suggestions to get cheap show tickets? Last time I was there, I saw Ms. Saigon and Cats (terrible show!) and thought both the productions were similar to broadway... do they have a place where you can buy same-day tickets, like the place in Times Square?
I'm going to try and go to either Spain or Italy, what is your experience or advice for airlines like Ryan Air. I've heard some horror stories about these airlines but they are extremely cheap and i'm on a budget.
Originally posted by SJniner7:
Any suggestions to get cheap show tickets? Last time I was there, I saw Ms. Saigon and Cats (terrible show!) and thought both the productions were similar to broadway... do they have a place where you can buy same-day tickets, like the place in Times Square?

i'm sure someone has a better answer lol but about 6-7 years ago when I was last in London, I remember there was an area just full of theaters (like Broadway) and we bought tickets to Phantom of the Opera (at Her Majesty's Theatre) the day before the show at a ticket stand. So yes... I'm confident they have a place like that
[ Edited by modninerfan on Feb 2, 2010 at 10:16 AM ]
Originally posted by modninerfan:
I'm going to try and go to either Spain or Italy, what is your experience or advice for airlines like Ryan Air. I've heard some horror stories about these airlines but they are extremely cheap and i'm on a budget.

If you hear anything let me know! I think I am going to shoot over to Italy. RT for like 55 euro. I had a buddy fly all over Europe on Ryanair, and he didn't really have any complaintsother than their "meh" customer service. But I work at Southwest, so that could jsut be coming from high standards...
Originally posted by modninerfan:
I'm going to try and go to either Spain or Italy, what is your experience or advice for airlines like Ryan Air. I've heard some horror stories about these airlines but they are extremely cheap and i'm on a budget.

EasyJet is a better option than Rhino IMO. Also, if you book in advance the full fares airline (BA and BMi can be just as good and loads better.

Other options are flyBe, a regional low-ish cost airline operating, in the south east, mainly out of Gatwick.

Rhino operate mainly out of Stansted, easyJet out of Luton, Gatwick and Stansted. Try to avoid Heathrow except for the main flight. It is not a place to get bargain flights from.

London accomodation is expensive and not all that good. Food is very variable but hugely cosmopolitan.

I will post a few suggestions on beer and curry houses nearer the time.

Regarding things to see and places to go, use wiki for whatever turns you on. Whatever it is, London probably has it. I hate the place
  • dman
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 7,453
I had no problems with Ryan Air when I was there ... also where you stay doesn't matter too much ... the subway can get you anywhere pretty quick.

Look for hostels and not hotels if your on a budget ... there are so many that you can find nicer ones that are pretty much hotels with a cheaper price tag.

Food?

Can't help you there ... the best meal I had there was Subway.
  • flow
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 2,394
Is Newcastle popular in the UK? I seriously love this stuff:

Originally posted by Crazy4Niners:
Is Newcastle popular in the UK? I seriously love this stuff:


Well, it is widely available but possibly not as popular as it was twenty years ago.

Newcastle girls, on the other hand, remain just as popular as ever.
I'm taking the train and ferry to Amsterdam after the game, the back packing from there.
Originally posted by Chief:
I'm taking the train and ferry to Amsterdam after the game, the back packing from there.

If you make your way to Germany i suggest Berlin and Munich
Originally posted by English:
Originally posted by modninerfan:
I'm going to try and go to either Spain or Italy, what is your experience or advice for airlines like Ryan Air. I've heard some horror stories about these airlines but they are extremely cheap and i'm on a budget.

EasyJet is a better option than Rhino IMO. Also, if you book in advance the full fares airline (BA and BMi can be just as good and loads better.

Other options are flyBe, a regional low-ish cost airline operating, in the south east, mainly out of Gatwick.

Rhino operate mainly out of Stansted, easyJet out of Luton, Gatwick and Stansted. Try to avoid Heathrow except for the main flight. It is not a place to get bargain flights from.

London accomodation is expensive and not all that good. Food is very variable but hugely cosmopolitan.

I will post a few suggestions on beer and curry houses nearer the time.

Regarding things to see and places to go, use wiki for whatever turns you on. Whatever it is, London probably has it. I hate the place

Why do you hate it?
  • dman
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 7,453
Originally posted by modninerfan:
Originally posted by Chief:
I'm taking the train and ferry to Amsterdam after the game, the back packing from there.

If you make your way to Germany i suggest Berlin and Munich

Munich is awesome ... Hofbrahaus!
Originally posted by English:
Originally posted by modninerfan:
I'm going to try and go to either Spain or Italy, what is your experience or advice for airlines like Ryan Air. I've heard some horror stories about these airlines but they are extremely cheap and i'm on a budget.

EasyJet is a better option than Rhino IMO. Also, if you book in advance the full fares airline (BA and BMi can be just as good and loads better.

Other options are flyBe, a regional low-ish cost airline operating, in the south east, mainly out of Gatwick.

Rhino operate mainly out of Stansted, easyJet out of Luton, Gatwick and Stansted. Try to avoid Heathrow except for the main flight. It is not a place to get bargain flights from.

London accomodation is expensive and not all that good. Food is very variable but hugely cosmopolitan.

I will post a few suggestions on beer and curry houses nearer the time.

Regarding things to see and places to go, use wiki for whatever turns you on. Whatever it is, London probably has it. I hate the place

I agree with the comments on airlines here. Ryanair awful, Easyjet generally pretty good in my experience. Also worth checking are Aer Lingus and CityJet.

This is a good comparison tool for the low costs: http://flightchecker.moneysavingexpert.com/
Originally posted by modninerfan:
Originally posted by SJniner7:
Any suggestions to get cheap show tickets? Last time I was there, I saw Ms. Saigon and Cats (terrible show!) and thought both the productions were similar to broadway... do they have a place where you can buy same-day tickets, like the place in Times Square?

i'm sure someone has a better answer lol but about 6-7 years ago when I was last in London, I remember there was an area just full of theaters (like Broadway) and we bought tickets to Phantom of the Opera (at Her Majesty's Theatre) the day before the show at a ticket stand. So yes... I'm confident they have a place like that

Try TKTS in Leicester Square. http://www.tkts.co.uk/
Also; http://www.uktheatretickets.co.uk/