24 hour layover in London

Jun 6th, 2006, 07:49 AM
  #1  
AJZ
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24 hour layover in London

Hello,

At the beginning of July I have a 24 hour layover in London with my 10-year old daughter (4PM to 4PM). I booked a hotel near the airport and have been studying up on the tube to get us into a more central area.

Since we have not been to London before and our stay is so short (I figured we would go into the city in the evening and head back again for a few hours in the morning) I thought it would be wise for us to do more traditional tourist (ack!) things.

Does anyone have thoughts on Fodor's suggested walking tour of Royal London? How about the British Airways London Eye and River Cruise?

Any thoughts and suggestions would be much appreciated!

Thanks! Anastasia
AJZ is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 08:07 AM
  #2  
 
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Is it too late to change your hotel reservation? Accommodations in town would probably suit your itinerary better, and save the time and expense of an additional round-trip from the airport. If your flights are in and out of Heathrow, I'd pick something along the Piccadilly Line between Gloucester Road and Hyde Park Corner. Check out in the morning and deposit your luggage with the porter.

The hop-on/off bus tours provide a good orientation for first-timers, but you can get to the same attractions much more economically with a one-day Travelcard (which will also get you from and to LHR) and this map:

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/pdfdocs/cen_bus.pdf
Robespierre is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 08:14 AM
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Arriving at 4:00 p.m. and w/ a 4:00 p.m. flight out you probably would have been better off booking a hotel in the center of London. That way you wouldn't need to to and fro into town twice.

Did you pay a non-refundable deposit? If not seriously consider picking a different place.

You could be in London by 6:00 or 6:30 p.m. and not have to leave again until anout 12:30 or 1:00 p.m. the next day.

As it is you will be spending at least 4 hours out of your very limited time just traveling back and forth from teh airport. Which airport BTW?
janisj is online now  
Jun 6th, 2006, 08:18 AM
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The London eye would be my first stop - your 10 yr old will love it and from the top you get a bird's eye view of all of London, the Thames, etc. Great orientation and the Eye is right in the heart of tourist London - Trafalgar Square just across the river as is the West End, Buckingham Palace, Parliament, etc. I'd just spend time dwelling around this area - maybe the Changing of the Guard in front of Buckingham - veteran tourists often disdain this as kitschy but your kid will love it and its British Royal pageantry at its best (or worst depending on point of view) and only take a few minutes of your time.
The hop on and off doubledecker bus tours are also a great way to orient yourself to London and the hop on and off aspect is great. Like at British Museum (free like most London museums) - hop off and see the several world famous things - hop back on the bus, which gives commentary on the sights you're passing.
PalQ is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 08:53 AM
  #5  
AJZ
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Thank you for the messages!

We're flying into and out of Heathrow.

After reading your messages it seems obvious that we should definitely stay in town. It is not too late to cancel my hotel reservations and I'm going to do so momentarily (I knew there was a reason I posted here). Any suggestions on a decent hotel that is affordable? I'm off to do a search now!

Thank you so much,
Anastasia
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Jun 6th, 2006, 12:23 PM
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For one night you really can't beat Priceline. It is very good for London. Check out biddingfortravel.com first for help/hotel lists

Or, in your case staying at the Paddington Hilton makes a lot of sense -- if you can get a good rate. It is directly above Paddington station which is only 15 mins from LHR on trjh Express.
janisj is online now  
Jun 6th, 2006, 01:53 PM
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That should be " . . .on theExpress." (most of my typos at least make some sense - don't have clue where that one came from! )
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Jun 6th, 2006, 11:51 PM
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But as we keep pointing out

a) The HEX is expensive
b) Paddington is nowhere near tourist London
alanRow is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 04:43 AM
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For sure the Hex is more expensive than the tube. But for a parent/child on a very short turn around it is probably the best. And while I am probably the last one to recommend Paddington - in this specific case it makes sense. Once they are there and have dropped their bags they can take a taxi or the tube anywhere.

But I suggested staying at the Pad. Hilton only if the could get a good rate. If not, then I'd probably stay somewhere near the South Kensington or Gloucester Rd stations and just take the tube in from LHR.
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Jun 7th, 2006, 04:58 AM
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There's nothing wrong with staying at the Paddington Hilton. And if you catch the #15 bus, which starts its run across the street from the Hilton, for about 20 minutes or so, you go follow the same route as the various tour buses. Sit on the upper level (front row if you can get it) and you'll go past lots of tourist sights and you can either get off along the way or wait until you get to the Tower.

If you were staying more than one night, I would say choose someplace more in the heart of the tourist action. But for just one night and given that you need to go back and forth from Heathrow, the Paddington Hilton is a practical, comfortable suggestion and it often offers good specials on its room (we've found rooms there starting as low as £85). It's certainly better than staying out by the airport, which would make sense if you had an early morning departure, but you don't need to be at Heathrow until early/mid afternoon.
BTilke is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 06:52 AM
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Returning to your hotel to pick up your luggage and continuing to the airport would be easier and cheaper if you didn't stay at Paddington.

From Hyde Park Corner (Buckingham Palace), it takes 45 minutes and costs £1.40 to get to Heathrow on the Tube (the difference in cost between a 2-zone and a 6-zone off-peak day Travelcard).

From the same starting point, it takes 20 minutes to get to Paddington plus 15 minutes to get to Heathrow via HX (plus wait time), at a cost of £13.

The same timings, within a few minutes, pertain to just about anywhere in central London. Unless you plan to finish your sightseeing in the upper-left corner of London, staying at Paddington doesn't make much sense.
Robespierre is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 07:14 AM
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I agree that the Tube, with luggage, with a child, on a short timeschedule, is not the way to get to/from Heathrow. Taxi to Paddington and the Heathrow Express is the least hassle, although much more expensive than the Tube.
KidsToLondon is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 07:16 AM
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Of course, Robespierre's timing depends on there being absolutely NO delays on that line (unlike yesterday or today) and that you catch it exactly when it arrives. And if it's as warm on your trip as it is today, that you don't mind a hot, stuffy ride. Or they have they air conditioned that line already?
We've done both and far prefer the HEX. It was faster and more comfortable. HEX is air-conditioned and has dedicated luggage space.
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Jun 7th, 2006, 07:35 AM
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Most of the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow is above ground, and quite comfortable. The time one is exposed to a stuffy ride is minimal.

Wait time for both methods have to be factored in - but Tube trains run much more frequently than the Express, so the Underground wins in that category (on average).

Obviously, if you think going back to Paddington and riding the HX is worth $66 (£13 - £1.40 * 3) for the three of you, that's what you should do. If I were that afraid of melting, I think I'd use a car service for little more than half that.
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Jun 7th, 2006, 07:51 AM
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Hmmm, a little confused by your math. The OP mentions one adult and one child. So the HEX fare is £13 for the adult and less than £7 for the child. Where did you come up with three people? And why would Mom buy an adult ticket for a 10 yo child?
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Jun 7th, 2006, 08:01 AM
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BTilke: Don't argue w/ Robes. He is always right. Even when he's wrong . . . . . . .
janisj is online now  
Jun 7th, 2006, 08:14 AM
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Of course you're right, BT. So the difference is $34 (£13 + £6.70 - £1.40).
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