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Old 09-21-2009, 04:37 PM   #1
KarenAylwood
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Surprise trip to London... need budget help!

I just was told today that my company is sending me to the UK for a week coming up in November or December! They'll pay for airfare, food, lodging, everything during the week. But I'd like to go to London while I'm there since I have free airfare... so that leaves me:

a train from Manchester to London
transportation around London for two days
a hotel for three nights in London
food for two days (I'll leave early Monday)
sightseeing for two days

Anyone have any budget ideas?? I wasn't budgeting for another trip this year (just got back from Disney last night) but this is a big surprise and an opportunity I don't want to waste.

Oh and I need somewhere safe... I'm a late 20's female travelling (likely) alone.
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Old 09-21-2009, 05:33 PM   #2
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You might want to fly from Manchester -- it's a whole lot faster, and often cheaper, too.

Be careful of the cheaper hotels near Earl's Court -- they cater to the backpacking market, and are often real dives.

Food in London is very dear; ethnic food tends to be cheapest.

For your in-city transport, buy an Underground pass; you won't need anything else unless you are out really late at night.
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Old 09-21-2009, 05:48 PM   #3
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Do you know if your company will pay for an "open jaw" ticket. Meaning your fly from the USA to MAN then return LHR to USA? Taking the train back to MAN just to catch a flight is a PITA and a waste of time on a very short trip.

I actually had a client in Chester which is just outside of Manchester and on one of my free weekends I popped down to London. I wrote a trip report about the experience. It is a bit outdated, but it was a solo squeeze in trip similar to what you are trying to do.

This was written in 2002 and was my first trip to London. Funny thing is now I try to pop over once or twice a year and reading that old report was a trip down memory lane.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...es-london.html
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Old 09-21-2009, 06:32 PM   #4
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How LUCKY for you! We just had the opportunity to travel to the UK in June. Here's a little mini trip report: http://valeriesvacantlot.blogspot.co...land-trip.html

We absolutely loved the hotel we stayed in in London. It's called the Luna Simone. http://www.lunasimonehotel.com/ Our first day there, we walked EVERYWHERE from the hotel. Buckingham Palace, The London Eye, Parliment, Big Ben, and Westminister Abbey to name a few. It was a LONG walk but we were so excited just to be there...

The owners/operators of the hotel were great! We had a key to the outside door to come and go as we pleased. They were so helpful to get us a town car to the airport on our last day.

We did as an PP suggested, we flew into Birmingham, as we were attending a conference there, took the train to London (about an hour or so but I think Manchester is further) and then flew back home out of Heathrow.

Have a MAGNIFICENT time! I still look at our pictures and can't believe that we were actually there!
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Old 09-21-2009, 06:51 PM   #5
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When we went we used ABC tours. They were pretty cheap, and we stayed in the most amazing hotel. It was something like Churchill Intercontinental or something like that. Have a great time!!!
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:57 PM   #6
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Right now, tonight, or as soon as you get firm dates, arrange to get tickets to the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. http://www.4london.info/londontowerc...yofthekeys.htm

They're free, and it's FABULOUS!!!

Touring London is wonderful-- the underground is incredibly easy to navigate. And many of the museums have days in which there's no formal ticket cost, just a donation. Be sure to see the Imperial War Museum and Churchill's Cabinet War Rooms!

Oh, and get someone to go with you-- mom or a friend or someone. London is too much fun to do alone!!!

Also, try here for tourism: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/londo...e-museums.html

and here for hotels:http://www.eurocheapo.com/london/
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Old 09-21-2009, 08:24 PM   #7
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Oh what fun! It's been several years since we've been to London but loved the city. We loved the area and hotel that we stayed in......The Flemings Mayfair in the Mayfair section of London. Mayfair is just a beautiful area. We went in 2004 and paid roughly $200 a night using hotels.com The dollar is a bit weaker now and that was five years ago, but still we felt like it was worth it.

There was a great little market area near the hotel called Shepherd's Market. We loved a little pub there called The Kings Arms.....even got invited by the owners to stay after they locked up for the night. I remember being a bit fuzzy the next day while sight-seeing, but that's another story .

We walked *everywhere*.....and just had a wonderful time.
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:09 PM   #8
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Hotels in London are expensive. My husband and I stayed at an easyhotel last year near Earls Court, on the back end of a business trip to Prague. Prices were cheap. The room is VERY basic. A clean room without windows and a clean bathroom....think cruise ship small.

You can look at information for the hotel chain at www.easyhotel.com, they are a division of easyjet. I don't know if easyjet flies your needed route, but that maybe a savings point also?

We would stay there again
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:37 AM   #9
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Affordable hotels

Go to biddingfortravel.com or betterbidding.com to get ideas
of bids accepted for different zones. That can save a bundle.
I used to use toptable.co.uk for discount meal vouchers.

Almost all museums in London are FREE. British Museum,
V&A (suggested donation), Science Museum near South
Kensington underground station. All are stellar.
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:41 AM   #10
KarenAylwood
It wouldn't be the holidays without Stove Top!
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Thank you everyone for your replies!! I'm really nervous about this trip because it was quite unexpected. I also am a bit nervous about travelling alone abroad. I've been to Germany, France, Switzerland and Ireland but never alone!

Quote:
Originally Posted by vsimeone View Post
How LUCKY for you! We just had the opportunity to travel to the UK in June. Here's a little mini trip report: http://valeriesvacantlot.blogspot.co...land-trip.html

We absolutely loved the hotel we stayed in in London. It's called the Luna Simone. http://www.lunasimonehotel.com/ Our first day there, we walked EVERYWHERE from the hotel. Buckingham Palace, The London Eye, Parliment, Big Ben, and Westminister Abbey to name a few. It was a LONG walk but we were so excited just to be there...

The owners/operators of the hotel were great! We had a key to the outside door to come and go as we pleased. They were so helpful to get us a town car to the airport on our last day.

We did as an PP suggested, we flew into Birmingham, as we were attending a conference there, took the train to London (about an hour or so but I think Manchester is further) and then flew back home out of Heathrow.

Have a MAGNIFICENT time! I still look at our pictures and can't believe that we were actually there!
Oh my gosh that hotel looks great!!! The site is cute but doesn't have many pictures (heck anyone can make a good website nowadays) but the reviews on trip advisor are great! It's rated #19 out of 1150 in London, and it's so reasonable too! The fact that the staff is really nice and helpful would make me feel better about staying alone. I'm trying to convince DBF to come, ($650 plane ticket is a little expensive for a few days) and if he can't I'm going to try to get my mom to come. Thanks for the tip, I'll def look into the hotel. You think it's safe to walk around alone in that area?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aliceacc View Post
Right now, tonight, or as soon as you get firm dates, arrange to get tickets to the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. http://www.4london.info/londontowerc...yofthekeys.htm

They're free, and it's FABULOUS!!!

Touring London is wonderful-- the underground is incredibly easy to navigate. And many of the museums have days in which there's no formal ticket cost, just a donation. Be sure to see the Imperial War Museum and Churchill's Cabinet War Rooms!

Oh, and get someone to go with you-- mom or a friend or someone. London is too much fun to do alone!!!

Also, try here for tourism: http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/londo...e-museums.html

and here for hotels:http://www.eurocheapo.com/london/
Wow now I really want to find out what the dates are that I'm going! That key ceremony looks interesting. I'm going to see if I can pick the dates myself. Someone else from work may be coming with me but they wouldn't be going to London with me, just to the work site. And like I said above- I'm working on DBF or mom but am preparing myself to go alone if I have to!

I'll be spending the week about 3 1/2 hours north of London in West Yorkshire. I've heard the city/town I'll be in is a TOTAL dive and not somewhere I'd want to walk around alone in. My hobby is photography (I've already posted over on the photography board about what/where to shoot) so I'll want to do a lot of walking around and sightseeing. Doesn't sound like I'll be doing much of it during the week, esp since I'll be at work during the daylight hours!
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Old 09-22-2009, 05:20 PM   #11
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The Tower of London is a must, whether you get tickets to the key ceremony or not. The British Museum is absolutely amazing, and free. You can get half price theater tickets for that evenings shows at a little kiosk in Leicester Square. Here is a link http://www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk/tkts/

Have a great time!
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Old 09-22-2009, 06:36 PM   #12
vsimeone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenAylwood View Post



Oh my gosh that hotel looks great!!! The site is cute but doesn't have many pictures (heck anyone can make a good website nowadays) but the reviews on trip advisor are great! It's rated #19 out of 1150 in London, and it's so reasonable too! The fact that the staff is really nice and helpful would make me feel better about staying alone. I'm trying to convince DBF to come, ($650 plane ticket is a little expensive for a few days) and if he can't I'm going to try to get my mom to come. Thanks for the tip, I'll def look into the hotel. You think it's safe to walk around alone in that area?



I would say that the area that the hotel is in - Westminister - is very safe to walk around alone in. It is just a few blocks from Victoria Station and we walked there at 5am one morning to go to Euston and take the Eurostar to Paris for the day. The neighborhood (as ALL of London did!) seemed very safe!

I would agree that the Tower of London is a MUST. If you are a AAA member, they sell (relatively cheaply) a "one pass" kind of thing that gets you into MANY attractions. The only problem we had was trying to figure out how to redeem it (ONE solitary place in Picadilly) but it was REALLY worth the money.

I also recommend the sightseeing cruise on the Thames. GREAT information and you see TONS of sights and the tour guides make it really lighthearted. Some of my best pictures were from the cruise.

The hotel really was fabulous. We heard all those stories about tiny rooms but we had a "quad" room (two adults and technically adult children at 18 and 21) we had a queen bed and two twins in the room. It was PLENTY big enough for us and we had a window overlooking a cute courtyard. The owners cook breakfast every morning from about 7:30 - 9am or so and will serve you all you can eat. If you're not full after one plate - just ask for another - and it's included in the price of the room!

Keep us updated on your plans! I sure hope I get to go back someday! (Do you need a traveling companion?)
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1976 O/S
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1982 Poly
1987 CR concierge (honeymoon)
1988 - 2000 O/S Too many times to count!
2001 CBR
2004 Pop
8/6/06-8/12/06 Grand Floridian 20th Anniversary!!!
12/23/06-1/1/07 CSR
12/20/08-1/2/09 CSR - An extra night and FREE DINING!!!
12/17/11-12/31/11 We're doing FREE DINING!!!
2/22/13 - 3/3/13 Disney Princess Half Marathon!
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Old 09-22-2009, 06:53 PM   #13
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Hiya I live in London so anything I can help you with feel free to ask and I will try my best

Firstly try and get your train ticket from Manchester (if thats where you will be) to London booked as soon as possible you will save quite abit of money doing this rather than buying on the day. As somebody else said if you can get your flight home leaving from London rather than Manchester that will be a great help to you. For trains from Manchester to London the route is done by Virgin trains www.virgintrains.co.uk if you need to get the train to London from anywhere else check out www.trainline.co.uk i think they will have details of most train routes across the country.

You said you will be in a place in west yorkshire and have been told its not safe to walk around alone at night, do you mind me asking where? most popular places will/should be busy and as long as you have your wits about you just as you would going anywhere else on buisness/holiday you should be fine.

I can't really help with hotels as i've said I live here so don't have any reason to stay in any in London, personally though I'd probably stay away from hotels in Kings cross as it's not very nice area at night imo. There are hotels called Travelodge which you can get great rates for and i'm pretty sure theres a few to choose from in Central London.
You'll have no problems getting around on buses and the tube it's really simple to use and tubes (like subway) run every 2-5 minutes and each line is differant coloured so very simple to learn routes. You can get yourself an oyster card and pre load it with money for journeys or get one day travelcards, if staying and visiting place smainly within central London you should only need zone 1-2 travel card which if i remember correctly (its been along time since i purchased one) costs around £7 you can use www.tfl.gov.uk for any transport information in London you may need.
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:03 PM   #14
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We were just there in March and stayed in the Holiday Inn Express Earls Court. It was a great hotel, nice and clean, with good sized rooms. A free breakfast is included. What was especially nice is that the bus let off right in front of the hotel. We loved the Earls Court area. It was very charming to us with the farmers markets each night, etc. I think we paid $55 dollars a night for our room. It was a great bargain. We will definately return. Enjoy your trip!!
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:59 AM   #15
KarenAylwood
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Thanks for the replies again! A little wrench thrown in this morning... my boss told me two possible weeks I'll be going (early Nov or early Dec) and that I'll be traveling with someone from here. He doesn't have a passport and has never flown before so I have to "help him out" AND we have to wait until he gets his passport to make plans!!

I think DBF is on board for going with me... but now we can't make any plans whatsoever until we get our flights made and dates set. Ugh. We're short on money and the cost of the flight will be a stretch for him, so it's frustrating that we won't even know what to book for a while. Argh!

Sarah84~ it's Bradford, West Yorkshire. I've heard the town is pretty much a dive and there are a lot of "foreigners" who aren't fans of Americans, so you shouldn't walk around alone at night. Just what I've heard, I'm not sure how true it is. I'm going to work at one of our sites over there, so it's not exactly a "popular place" that would be busy Thanks for the tips! I'll look into the travel cards and the train! I guess it's good to keep a running list of what I would want to book so I can as soon as I'm allowed!!
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