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LisaLou632 Jan 28th, 2007 01:09 PM

1st visit to London~need validation please!
OK, I've read all I could and here is what I have come up with. Please tell me if this sounds like the best plan.

We are arriving at Gatwick and immediately training to Paris for 5 days then back to London for 3 and a half. I realize an open jaw would have been most convenient but I found r/t tix from LAX to Gatwick for $438 total so this is how we are gonna do it.

What I figured we would do is use the Gatwick Exp (w/the 50% off code, it seems to be the most effecienct and economical deal)to Victoria St. Once we arrive there, we would get a PAG Oyster and load up w/about 10 pounds apiece. Tube to Waterloo and take the Eurostar to Paris. We have already purchased those tickets and just need to pick them up at the station. I have allowed 3hrs and 50mins from arrival at Gatwick to when the train leaves for Paris. Hopefully this will be enough time.

When we arrive back in London at the Waterloo station we will already have our Oyster cards. Now I just need to figure the best way to get from the Waterloo station to our hotel in Kensington. It's the Hilton Olympia at 380 Kensington High St (I know it's not the best location but I rolled the dice w/Priceline!) Anyone know off the top of your head the best way to get there? Tube? Bus? Tube then Bus? I've read that the tube station nearest the hotel is not a main line and doesn't run frequently. There is however a bus stop very near the hotel, just haven't a clue which bus to get on and right now my brain hurts from all the research (especially those damn Oyster cards. Oi!)

Any comments, helpful info and advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks for your time,


lincasanova Jan 28th, 2007 01:19 PM

the C1 from victoria station, or victoria coach station, leaves you at the door if i am not mistaken.

there are two other buses that go there and are great, but i do not remember their numbers right now.

there is a bus map route helper online, which hopefully someone else will give you the website. you can put in the hotel address and find out anywhere to go.

also, the bus information at victoria is great.
they are vey helpful.

you will have no problem at the olympia. it has great bus service and we frankly enjoyed going past the monuments and residential buildings everyday a lot.

in the evenings we always caught a bus at somerset house that took us right to the hotel.

alanRow Jan 28th, 2007 01:21 PM - click on journeyplanner

alanRow Jan 28th, 2007 01:23 PM

Just to add it also allows you to putany of the London Airports into it as an address so you can use it to go from airport to hotel or vice versa - have a play with the "advanced options"

janisj Jan 28th, 2007 01:48 PM

Kensington Olympia tube station isn't a backwater or anything. Trains are only a little less frequent that other central London stations - nothing to worry about. Plus as lincasanova says, there is very good bus service right outside the hotel.

My big issue is you may not have allowed enough time to get to Waterloo for the Eurostar. Especially if you are checking luggage. You will have to clear immigration - which could be short or could be very long, and wait for your bags, the walk down to the platform and wait for the next train. Then queue for a taxi at Victoria, get to Waterloo international, retrieve your tix and check in 30 mins prior to your train time.

Your 3:50 certainly could be long enough. But if your flight is only 30 mins late, and/or if several long haul flights land about the same time and immigration lines are looooong - you are cutting it close.

Fidel Jan 28th, 2007 02:08 PM

I think you have all your transport nailed down, really key to a great trip. And I have done that before -- Home-London-Home with another city in between, although I would have stayed in London a couple days on both sides of the Other City. Doesn't matter though.

The District Line goes to "Kensington Olympia" (a "3-minute" walk to the Hilton) and you'd have to change at Embankment or Westminster depending on which line you take out of Waterloo. I always ride the Tube but maybe you'd prefer the bus. It's pretty easy and fun no matter which you choose.

Congrats on the $438 tix and have a blast in Paris and London -- look at you!

alanRow Jan 28th, 2007 02:16 PM

<<< The District Line goes to "Kensington Olympia" >>>

It's a spur line from the District Line and generally you have to change at Earls Court - plus it's only used when there's an event on at Olympia

Robespierre Jan 28th, 2007 02:51 PM

Here's the bus map of all lines that serve Victoria:

As suggested above the C1 will get you close - or the 52. If they both go by your hotel, I'd choose based on where you board.

Fidel Jan 28th, 2007 02:59 PM

....spur line....

Oh sorry, the Hilton site does not mention service is limited to events. Thanks Alan.

PatrickLondon Jan 29th, 2007 03:00 AM

Victoria to Waterloo: 211 or 507 bus (507 is likely to have more room for luggage) - taxi if the timing doesn't look promising.

Waterloo to Olympia:

By tube - Jubilee Line to Westminster, District Line to Earl's Court, wait on the same platform for an Olympia train.

You could do it by bus, but it would involve getting your luggage around the outside of Waterloo Station to a stop opposite the IMAX cinema, and there isn't a lot of luggage room on most buses: 139 to Trafalgar Square (the far side, stop T), walk ten yards to stop S for the number 9 to Olympia.

You will probably become very familisr with the number 9 bus while in London:

audere_est_facere Jan 29th, 2007 03:35 AM

...spur line....

Oh sorry, the Hilton site does not mention service is limited to events. Thanks Alan. >>>>>>>>

It isn't limited to events - it runs all the time.

GeoffHamer Jan 29th, 2007 05:05 AM

District Line trains have run every day to Kensington Olympia for several years. The story that they only run during exhibitions is very out of date. From central London, you normally have to change trains at Earl's Court. From Waterloo, take the Jubilee Line to Westminster, then the District Line to Earl's Court where the train to Olympia leaves from the same platform.

BrightonGriffin Jan 30th, 2007 01:49 PM

There is an alternative to faffing about with the tube/bus from Victoria to Waterloo.

Ignore the Gatwick Express and take a First Capital Connect (the new name for the old Thameslink franchise) train to London Bridge (there's 4 every hour and get a ticket to London terminals). Get off at London Bridge and wait on the same platform for the next train to Charing Cross (usually just a 2-3 minute wait). Take this train to the next stop Waterloo East (a 3 minute ride) and its then a step-free very short walk and escalator ride to the International Terminal at Waterloo. After trying the full range of routes over the last few years, I find this one the easiest - particularly if you have luggage.

londonengland Jan 31st, 2007 01:04 AM

BrightonGriffin is spot on with the best route from Gatwick to Waterloo Eurostar terminal - total journey time would be about an hour and involve much less hassle

LisaLou632 Feb 1st, 2007 09:11 PM

Thanks for all the great info! I think I can figure it out now that you all have given me the basics I need.

janisj~ I AM concerned about making the train but the tix are already bought. Just crossing my fingers now. Flying Delta... wonder what their on time percentage is?

Fidel~ Thanks for the encouragement :) We love to travel but live on a pretty tight budget so I have learned to search for the best prices.

Brighton~ Thanks for the tip. It's more expensive but I figure the peace of mind it will bring is worth a few extra pounds.

Thanks again for all the help and info!

tripc Feb 1st, 2007 11:01 PM

You will get where you need to go. I went to Europe about 14 years ago. London was my favorite place for sights and for kind people. I will admit, I was homesick for some native English speakers! But you will be fine :). Londoners are incredibly nice and, my goodness, English people are civilized :). If you get confused, ask someone. They will help you. They helped me and I was just some dumb teenager. Have a wonderful time!

gowen65 Feb 3rd, 2007 06:19 AM

I belive that the C1 bus will take you from Victoria to your hotel door. It really depends how must luggage you have if you intend to tackle a bus or tube train. A good recourse that may help is Good luck.

LisaLou632 Mar 14th, 2007 10:44 AM

I'm back with another question. I've read through all you very informative posts here about how we should get from GTW to Waterloo but I still have a problem. Brighton and others agree that First Capitol is the way to go. Sounds easy enough but we need Oyster cards. We can't get them at GTW so the fact that we will have to leave the platform to go buy these make this route any easier? Should we just do the GWK Exp? Should I purchase either of the tix in advance or is it simple (and quick) to buy them once we arrive? I'm still confused & really appreciate your input. Thanks all!


Robespierre Mar 14th, 2007 10:56 AM

TfL anticipates your every need! You can now buy public transit products aboard the Gatwick Express.

Scan the travel groups to find 2-for-1 GX ticketing codes. This makes the ride cheaper than 1stCap (GX terminates at Victoria, but that's no big deal).

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