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2 days in London - what we did, how much it cost.

2 days in London - what we did, how much it cost.

May 2nd, 2006, 11:15 PM
  #1  
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2 days in London - what we did, how much it cost.

Guilty of living near London and hardly ever going there we decided to treat ourselves this weekend on a budget of £200. As this forum is always full of 'how much did it cost' and 'what should I do' posts, I thought people might find this useful. One thing I must say - I'm impressed with the stamina of visiting tourists if they do actually stick to their prosepective schedules as often posted here. We got back last night completely and utterly knackered and we only did half as much as most people plan for!

Where we stayed: used Priceline for the first time and got a 4 star in the Mayfair area for £60 (+£15 booking fee/tax)for room only. This turned out to be the Millenium Hotel Mayfair. The location was ok but I can't say it really hit me as a 4 star hotel. Room was nice enough but very ordinary and the foyer/corridors etc not at all special. The room was not ready on time and we were told to leave our bags, go for lunch, and come back 40 minutes later. When we got back an hour and a half later we were told the room still wasn't ready, then they checked it and said it was. Not a great start. I know the concierge who brought our bags up was disappointed not to get a tip but as we only had to use the luggage service because the room wasn't ready we weren't tipping! Then there was some confusion with the bill when we checked out. All the reception/concierge staff seemed very young and easily confused...

Travel: after weighing up all the options we drove to London and parked in a non-NCP carpark - Mayfair carpark. This is weirdly hidden in a roundabout opposite the Hilton on Park Lane and very hard to find but it only cost us £20 for the entire weekend.

Sunday. Dropped car, walked about a mile to hotel, dropped bags. Went off for lunch. went to the Patisserie Valerie on Picadilly (on the corner one road up from the Ritz going away from Green Park). Very nice food, good portions, not bad prices for London. cost us about £15 for a hot chocolate, a pot of tea, a breakfast of toast, a ton of scrambled egg and four slices of bacon, and a sandwich with salad and crisps. Back to the hotel, unpacked. Walked to Bond Street station and got Jubilee Line to Waterloo as I had tickets booked for the IMAX cinema. The offpeak Travel card cost £4.90.If you've never been to one -go! We had tickets for one of the 3D movies and then a feature film: V for Vendetta. The 4 tickets cost us £35. A tip - if you are going to see more than one film phone up and book as then you get a discount, the on-line booking system doesn't do the 2 film discount. Then we grabbed a bagel from a stand in Waterloo station for dinner (£2.50 each).

Monday. Lazed around hotel for a bit, then packed up and took bags back to car. Left it all there and walked to underground, another Travelcard and a trip to Blackfriars. We walked around a bit, crossed the Millenium bridge and went into the Tate Modern. Decided to have lunch in the cafe. We were a bit surprised that they only seem to serve cakes or full-on meals, nothing in between. We both had the fish and chips (£9.95) which is a bit overpriced and the chips were a bit weird. I don't know what they cook them in but they were bright orange and had an odd aftertaste. We ordered smoothies which were nice but quite small. We then looked around the galleries (free). Floor 5 is closed at the moment so only half the collection is on display. We then crossed back over the bridge, took a butchers at the exterior of St Pauls and got back on the tube. After a bit of messing around as they also closed the Jubilee line due to a fire scare (engineering works affecting much of the network anyway last weekend) we got back to Patiserrie Valerie for an afternoon nosh. We each had a cream cake and tea, and then other half had an icecream. This all came to about £15 again. Nice cakes though! Then we walked back through Green Park, had a quick look at Hyde Park, and picked up the car. The ticket machine tried to charge us £30 but we complained to the attendent (I'd phoned beforehand to find out how much parking would be for the weekend) and he ended up charging us £19.65.

We did go over our budget by about £20 that weekend, but we could have done it all a bit cheaper on the food if we'd picniced on supermarket buys. Excluding accomodation and car park we spent about £90, so averages £45 each on food, travelcard, and entertainment from 1.30pm on Sunday to 6pm on Monday.


nona1 is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 01:15 AM
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It does all pile up, costwise, doesn't it? I went (from London) on a group walk in the country on Monday. It was a lovely day, but it's not only my Scottish blood that's rebelling a bit when I tot up the cost: £20 train fare(we should have met up as a group at the ticket office, since there was a 4-for-2 deal on), £8.40 for a pub lunch at the Plough in Crowhurst(admittedly, there were four huge slices of ham in the ham, egg and chips) and another £6 or so for tea and a (delicious and rib-sticking) chocolate cake at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill.
PatrickLondon is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 05:55 AM
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I was more surprised at how tired I was. I wonder if all those people who see 3 or 4 London sites in a day really enjoy them all?
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May 3rd, 2006, 06:34 AM
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nona, thanks for your report. I like the restaurant at the Tate better than the cafe since they have more sides/starters/salads/etc and the view is wonderful. What did you think of the collection?

I think the reason others might do more is that they've travelled a great distance to get to London and want to make the most of every minute. You're lucky since you can pop in when you wish.
mvor is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 07:09 AM
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nona, this is what we did on our last day in London a month ago. Tube from Marleybone to ride on London Eye, walked from there to the Museum of Gardening and spent quite a bit of time, walked to the Tate Britain for brief visit to see the Turners , bus to St. Paul's where we climbed to the top, walked over the Millenium Bridge to Tate Modern for brief visit, back over the bridge to the tube and back to Marleybone with just time to change for dinner at the National Liberal Club.

As mvor said we were trying to make the most of every minute. These were all on our list of things to see and it was the last chance. It sounds like a lot but we did not rush. More time at the museums would have been nice but that's for next time.
gomiki is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 07:27 AM
  #6  
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What time does your hotel suggest is check-in time. I'm used to something like 3 PM for most US hotels these days. Were you there after the suggested check-in time and then it was still another hour and a half before the room was ready?

Stuff happens. It seems to me if a porter took my luggage to the room, I'd tip him even if you wouldn't have had to use him otherwise. Was that his fault? Sort of like not tipping a waiter because the kitchen was slow in preparing your food.

I've found in the past that if we avoid ice creams and mid day snacks but have nice full meals, we usually come out money ahead. Those snacks and stopping for bottled drinks, etc., sure can add up in a hurry.

Don't you love Valerie? Great breakfast spot for us!
 
May 3rd, 2006, 07:57 AM
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We were told 2pm check-in and got there just past that. We were told to go away for 40 minutes but actually went off for an hour and a half. Then we were told the room still wasn't ready but the receptionist went off to check. Turns out the room was ready but no-one had updated the computer. Makes me wonder if the room was ready all along. Sounds picky but they were very disorganised. It really messed up our afternoon's plans to have to go back to the hotel again mid-way, so I wasn't feeling too charitable on tips!

I also had to give my credit card when I first checked in then when we returned they told me it had been refused. I got them to try again and it was accepted.

On checking out they tried to charge us again for the room (it was prepaid through Priceline). They ended up getting a supervisor who just asked me 'did you pay?' and took my word for it as they couldn't find out from their computer system. They also tried to charge us for minibar items when we hadn't even broken the seal on the minibar. We had to hang around while they sorted everything out. I found it irritating that a 4 star can be so disorganised - one mishap maybe, but four in one simple overnight booking?

Anyway, wasn't meant to be a whinge about the hotel.

I did want to go up to the restaurant in the Tate as I've heard the view is fantastic but after looking at the prices in the cafe I didn't think our budget would do a restaurant. I assumed it would be more expensive but perhaps I was wrong there...
nona1 is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 10:56 AM
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The prices in the restaurant are slightly higher (e.g. your fish and chips are £10.25) but it's definitely worth it for the view and the wider menu. Be sure to make a reservation for window seats.

Here's a link to the restaurant:

http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/pdf/
tm_restaurant_menu.pdf
mvor is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 11:00 AM
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Sorry, either cut and paste the entire link above or use this to go to the museum's page on restos:

http://tinyurl.com/kkv9q
mvor is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 04:16 PM
  #10  
yk
 
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The nice view from the Tate Modern restaurant probably justifies its slightly higher price.

BTW, nona, Patisserie Valerie is one of my favorite hang-outs in London. I used to go there a lot during my year abroad in London. Every trip back to London since then, I never failed to visit Valerie at least once. I usually go to the SoHo location, but my last trip (in Jan), I went to the one on Picadilly after seeing an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. Their pastries are just to die for!
yk is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 05:04 PM
  #11  
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I met someone there for lunch once and have been dying to go back ever since (hence the two visits in two days!)
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