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View Full Version : London on the cheap?


robb01
12-14-2008, 04:53 PM
Im going to London in March and was wondering if anyone had any good tips for cheap travel? The conversion rate has come down a bit in recent months thankfully. I also got a steal on Travelodge rooms at only 19 GBP per night. Always looking for ways to save :)

Aliceacc
12-14-2008, 05:02 PM
Go online and find info on the Ceremony of the Keys. It's the nightly lock up at the Tower of London, and it's just amazing!!! There are ghost stories and all sorts of wonderful trivia.

When we went 20 years ago, tickets were free, but HAD to be ordered ahead of time. Give them a few options for dates too.

hambirg
12-14-2008, 05:41 PM
This site has some good info:

http://solo2.abac.com/themole/freelondon.html

PrincessMama605
12-14-2008, 06:18 PM
Get a travelcard, you can the ride the busses and the tube as much as you want. London taxis are very expensive.

I think you can pre-purchase them online, I will try to find a link for you.

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/faresandtickets/10628.aspx

I don't know if you are flying into Gatwick or not, but if you are here is the link for Gatwick Express, the train that runs from Gatwick Airport to Victoria Station in London. Very easy way to travel and not too expensive.

www.gatwickexpress.com

CarolA
12-14-2008, 06:22 PM
Luckily the museums are free. (Donations requested but not pushed) So tour them.

I bought a one week OysterCard that worked great. Saved money on the tube and buses.

Eat ethnic. Seriously Italian, Indian, Chinese are good and pretty affordable.

shortbun
12-14-2008, 06:26 PM
Let's Go Europe/London or Lonely Planet London. These books have great eats, walks, shops and sleeps for cheap. They are meant for college aged travellers but I've used them in my 40's and loved some of the amazing little dive restaurants and back alley shops I found because of them.

RachaelA
12-14-2008, 06:41 PM
I definitely recommend the books that the above poster mentioned. Those books were pretty much all I used when I lived in London a year and a half ago for a summer.

Avoid taxis. Get a week long Oystercard (get just zones 1 and 2) and you can get around pretty easily. Some stuff (Wimbledon and Windsor for example) require an extra cost (they are out farther or require a different train)

http://www.londonpass.com/
This might be worth it for you.

There is a lot of discounts for students, but i would assume that doesn't apply to you unfortunately.

There is also a book called Walking Tours of London that I loved. It was actually a book of cards that had a bunch of different walking tours for throughout the city.

If want to take day trips outside the city look for companies recommended by hostels because they will have tour companies they recommend that are much cheaper then the bigger names and just as good (probably allow you to have actual free time on the tour!)

vsimeone
12-14-2008, 06:51 PM
Thanks so much for this thread! We'll be headed to the UK in June but we're going to Birmingham (Rotary International Convention). Right now, I'm trying to prepare for leaving on Saturday for 2 weeks at WDW so I'll start to look at England when I get back! I don't even have any idea how far it is from Birminham to London but I fully intend to get there somehow!

Have a wonderful trip in March!

robb01
12-14-2008, 06:56 PM
We are headed into Heathrow, Ive read there is a bus/trolley for the local hotels. Then we will go back to Heathrow and take the tube into the city

prncess674
12-14-2008, 07:04 PM
I just googled Travel Lodge London and they all seem really far from the tourist area. While the rate will be cheap it seems you will be spending a great deal of time traveling and if you don't mind the distance you will pretty much be forced to stay in the city all day (no time to go back and change for dinner) based on what I have seen. Hopefully I am wrong.

robb01
12-14-2008, 07:25 PM
I did a lot of research on the Travelodge hotels I chose, they are real close to the tube stations, so the travel will be minimal. Also, they are pretty close to the city center

Aliceacc
12-14-2008, 07:28 PM
The tube is INCREDIBLY easy to navigate! As long as you're near a tube station, you can get to wherever you need to be.

If you have a choice, take a look at the tube map, and be sure you're near one of the "busier" lines. They're color coded, so it's really easy. Here's a map:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/travel/downloads/tube_map.html

We were at the Marlybone station (on the tan line.) We were on stop from the Baker Street transfers, and 2 or 3 stops from transfers to the red and blue lines. It was wonderful!!!

prncess674
12-15-2008, 03:31 AM
I did a lot of research on the Travelodge hotels I chose, they are real close to the tube stations, so the travel will be minimal. Also, they are pretty close to the city centerWhat tube stop?

ACS228
12-15-2008, 05:57 AM
I second the travelcard. If I remember, I had to order it before I left the US since the rates are not the same by a significant amount. Go to www.visitbritaindirect.com and look for travelcards under travel around Britain.

Imzadi
12-15-2008, 09:19 AM
Read any of the Rick Steves travel guides. They are a wealth of info for the budget traveler. Borrow them from the library.

also, I don't know if they still have this, since it was years since I've been in Heathrow, but they used to have a Tourist/Visitor info booth downstairs. It wasn't just a bunch of brochures, but a manned booth (like a concierge service,) with people who can & will actually help you find a B&B if necessary, and help book tour reservations & such. I couldn't believe how much help I got for free. :thumbsup2

crashbb
12-15-2008, 09:59 AM
Think carefully before buying a travel card, but definitely get at Oyster Card. With the Oyster card you can put a 7 day travel card on it or load it with money and "pay-you-go" with much cheaper rates than the standard per trip fare (and a daily cap which is equal to 50p less than a daily travel card, after which all trips are free).

The decision between the two options comes down to your travel style. Will you be spending all 7 days in London? If so, the travel card is a good deal. However, it is 7 consecutive days, so if you are planning any day trips (Oxford, Bath, Hampton Court, Windsor, etc.) you won't be getting use of your Travel Card on those days (all of these places require a separate ticket - either train or for extra zones on the Tube). I you are taking a day trip or two, the pay-as-you-go option might work best.

Note that with a zone 1-2 Travel Card you'd need to buy a separate Tube ticket to/from Heathrow as well as a couple of site in London (Kew Gardens, for example, I think is in zone 3 - though you could get off at the last zone 2 stop and walk).

The Trip Advisors forums are great. www.tripadvisors.com

SUZCRUISE
12-15-2008, 11:12 AM
London Walks are awesome, they usually begin at a tube stop and they are cheap. Just a bunch of people will show up and you get a tour guide who is very informative. You will learn things you'd never learn just walking around on your own. I love the ghost walks!

http://www.walks.com/

You must see the Tower of London, the crown jewels are there, King Henry the VIII castle. Well worth the price.

The cabinet war rooms near Buckingham palace are cheap and interesting. It is where wwII was run by Churchill.

I also love nearby Hampton court Palace, you can get there on your travel pass via bus. They have a audio tour that takes you around the palace and the grounds. - this costs.

Windsor Palace - you can get to by bus... but carefully check the bus schedule... we ended up stuck there and had to cab it back. - this costs

You can watch changing of the guards at Buckingham palace and at Whitehall palace for free. At Whitehall you can have your picture taken with one of the horse guards - for free.

Go see Picadilly Circus at night. This is at a tube stop and has lit up signs like time square.

If you like history/archeology the British national museum is free.

Shopping at Herods.

If you have a car and want to go a little farther out... you can see Stonehenge which is really cool. Bath is also interesting and historic.

Use the tube, get a tube pass, It is the most awesome system! And an adventure in itself.

KelliLee702
12-15-2008, 11:38 AM
I went in 1988, and I loved the Street Market on Portabello Road. It was kind of like a Antique Flea Market sort of thing. I'm not sure if they have it any more, but one of the travel guides may have info on it. I picked up some really great souviners there. The Planetarium had lazer light shows and it was very reasonable to attend. The TUBE is great, just watch your valuables.

NotUrsula
12-15-2008, 12:56 PM
We are headed into Heathrow, Ive read there is a bus/trolley for the local hotels. Then we will go back to Heathrow and take the tube into the city

I hope you are only doing this once? The tube from Heathrow to Central London takes FOREVER. There are 17 stops between the airport and Earl's Court on the Picadilly Line (blue). I always recommend that people take the Heathrow Express when they arrive -- it's a bit pricey (though less than a cab would be), but it takes a grand total of 15 minutes to get you to Paddington Station. Last time I took the Piccadilly tube line from LHR to Kensington it took an hour and a half one way.

I long ago learned a lesson about pinching pennies on local transport when travelling. It just doesn't pay to choose the really cheapest option when it is time-intensive, because your time at your destination is limited, and the charm of endless bus and train rides wears off quickly. Weigh the money spent against the time involved, and you may well find that this is one thing that it is worthwhile to splurge on once in a awhile.

crashbb
12-15-2008, 01:05 PM
I hope you are only doing this once? The tube from Heathrow to Central London takes FOREVER. There are 17 stops between the airport and Earl's Court on the Picadilly Line (blue). I always recommend that people take the Heathrow Express when they arrive -- it's a bit pricey (though less than a cab would be), but it takes a grand total of 15 minutes to get you to Paddington Station. Last time I took the Piccadilly tube line from LHR to Kensington it took an hour and a half one way.


Funny, I almost always take the Tube and find it much easier/better. I think it really depends on where you are going. The two hotels I generally stay at are on the Piccadilly line, so the Tube is much more convenient than the Heathrow Express and then transferring to the Tube (and sometimes having a transfer within the Tube) or I'm catching a train out of King's Cross (also in Piccadilly). It's generally taken about an hour to get to Holborn station - which is about 7 stations past South Kensington.

OP - what Tube station are you closest to? That makes a big difference when I'm deciding between the Tube and HEX - definitely HEX if staying near Paddington.