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Can I get to central London and back to Heathrow with ~10 hour layover?

Can I get to central London and back to Heathrow with ~10 hour layover?

Jan 6th, 2014, 10:07 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 6
Can I get to central London and back to Heathrow with ~10 hour layover?

Hello !
This is my first real time traveling overseas by myself [normally I followed my mom] and while purchasing a plane ticket to Korea, I was intrigued by a 25 hour plane flight with a 10~11 hour layover in London~

I didn't want to be hasty, because not being able to leave the airport for 10 hours would completely mess me up, so I waited a day to ask around and research online and thanks to my delay, all of the other flights were booked and I only had the option of 10 hours in London, or 9 in Germany.

My research told me that it shouldn't be difficult to leave and re-enter the airport [I am a US citizen, 21 years of age, female] and get into central London as well, but I would like to make sure before I completely screw myself over ...

I leave Newark airport at 9.55PM [May 24] and arrive in Heathrow 10.10AM [May 25], and my flight to depart to Korea is 9PM [May 25].
Thanks to the decent times, the tube will be running I won't need a hotel to check into or anything of that sort ~

My main questions are:
~if I purchased the ->London->Korea as one ticket, will I need to pick my luggage up, or will it be on a direct flight to Korea? If I do need to, can I quickly check it onto the flight to Korea or will I need to hold onto it ?

~I have exactly 10 hours and 50 minutes [given any planes don't delay], how much time should I give myself to play in London? I mostly want to see ~~BIG BEN~~! I'm studying to be a jewelery designer right now and dream of designing watches and clocks in the future ~ but I'm hoping that Big Ben won't be the only thing I'll get to see, maybe walk around downtown and eat something delicious as well?

~How early should I start heading back to the airport? If my plane is 9pm, should I start leaving central London at 5pm? or even 4pm maybe? Better safe than sorry ~ I have a terrible sense of direction, but can get around the subway just fine in NYC as well as Taipei's underground rails.

~How much should I bring at minimum [ie. tube, food, a postcard? My friend requested one ~] or should I bring any pounds at all? I read that taking money out of an ATM in England has no fees, so assuming I can find an ATM in the airport, I should just bring my debit card? I bank at Wells Fargo and they told me that they don't charge any exchange fees but I exchanged Japanese Yen at one point because the rate was really good, and found that they charged roughly 2%. My credit card charges 2.7% for international use.

~And of course, most importantly, can I even leave? I'll definitely have my ticket to Korea and passport on hand, so proving identification and that I'll only be staying for a little should not be an issue.

Sorry for the long post! I'm just really nervous as it's the very start of my trip and I don't want to get discouraged before I depart to 3 foreign countries ... haha

And also~ yes! I still have a ~very~ long way to go before the actual trip but once school starts, I get buried in work and spend 10~14 hours a day everyday in school, so I need to plan and get all my facts straight before my winter holidays end. Thank you thank you for anyone that reads this and has any advice for me ~ Cheers!
peekingbear is offline  
Jan 6th, 2014, 11:49 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3,744
I don't know how easy it is to get out of and into the transit zone

Getting to London by Heathrow Express will take about 20 minutes and will land you at Paddington Station. From there: many buses that go down Oxford street or you can take the circle or district line tube to Westminster (Big Ben)

You can take out pounds from any ATM. Most charge something.

As time is so short, it would perhaps be a good idea to pick one activity and one place to eat (check out time out london). Apart from having Big Ben, there isn't much to do in Westminster. But it's easy enough to walk across Westminster Bridge and do the London Eye and have a leisurely lunch at the South Bank complex, then walk across to Tate Modern and see a show there, then walk across millennium bridge to St Paul's and travel back to Paddingto to take the HEX back.

You could be in London by 11 am if all goes well, and 5 pm is a good time to start heading back. That gives you an afternoon, and lunch. Please do make allowances for jet lag
menachem is offline  
Jan 7th, 2014, 12:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,301
Our ATMs don't charge anything if you use a bank one, the charges will come from your home bank. The only ones that charge are independents and you will be asked if you want to pay the charge before your transaction goes through.
jamikins is offline  
Jan 7th, 2014, 12:35 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 6
Thank you for responding so so quickly ~!

Oops... It looks like I just changed my flight...
Haha I wasn't very happy when I read "time is so short" so I looked up the flights again, thinking since it's closer to the actual date, maybe more flights are available or something like that, and found a flight at an earlier date with an 11 hour 40 minute layover ... Still not that long, but it's another 50 minutes to spare !

So my schedule as changed to
8:50PM [May 20] depart Newark -> 9:20AM [May 21] arrive London
9PM [May 21] depart London

Not too much of a change, it just gives me an extra hour in the morning.

I'm looking at a map of the tube .. Is there a reason to take the Express [which I heard was relatively more expensive?] all the way to Paddington to transfer to Piccadilly? The dark blue line runs directly from Heathrow to Piccadilly. Is it for convenience's sake, or to save time? Sorry, just a little curious ~
I also did a quick google map that says Piccadilly is only a ~1 mile walk away from Big Ben? Or did I not look up the right area? Hard for me to think that it's so close, but then again, in addition to bad sense of direction, I also have bad judgement of distance ...

I'm not sure what exactly it is that I want to do in London, but it's definitely nice to know that I have a solid ~at least~ 5 hours to hang around

Jetlag isn't too much of an issue for me because I have a severe talent at sleeping on planes ~ After changing my flight, I immediately leave for the airport the day after my last class [which means I will be ~~dead~~ tired] so I have a nice 7 hour sleep prior to London, and beautiful 10 hour nap after ~^^

Again, thank you for replying~!
peekingbear is offline  
Jan 7th, 2014, 12:36 AM
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Thank you jamikins ~

I'm thinking ATMs don't take too much of a fee to begin with? I'm assuming [hoping] no more than 3 pounds per transaction ..?
peekingbear is offline  
Jan 7th, 2014, 01:16 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,826
Heathrow Express is indeed expensive, but fast. On the other hand, it runs only every 15 minutes, so the time advantage (especially if you want to get somewhere more central than Paddington) starts to erode.

If you're thinking of starting at Westminster for Big Ben (I second the idea of a stroll around the South Bank, or you could equally well get a bus up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square and stroll around there) - then get the Piccadilly Line from Heathrow, change at Hammersmith to the eastbound District Line (just walk across the same platform) for Westminster. It might take you 15 minutes more than by Heathrow Express.

You'll need to check with the airline(s) about whether your luggage is checked through, and what time you need to be back at the airport for your onward flight; the only other real imponderable is how long the immigration queue will be when you arrive.

As for budgeting, £30 should cover the tube (ask for an Oystercard and put £10 pay-as-you-go money on it: NEVER pay cash-per-ride) and not too expensive meals/snacks (e.g., in a chain like Prêt à Manger or Costa, a sandwich + fruit + drink = around £8), with a bit left over for purchases at the airport.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Jan 7th, 2014, 01:22 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
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No, you don't need to take the Heathrow Express which is more costly than the tube and from Paddington, its terminus, you still need to take the tube to get more central, so the time-saving isn't that much.

When you arrive at Heathrow, don't follow the transfer/transit signs, head for Immigration.

Once through Immigration, which can take awhile, take the tube from Heathrow right to Green Park or Picadilly Circus then walk either through the park (past Buckingham Palace) or from Picadilly, through Trafalgar Square along Whitehall toward the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. If the weather is bad, change lines at Green Park for Westminster.

If you will have your boarding pass for the flight to Korea and if your bag is checked through (you want to do this, NOT pick it up at Heathrow), all should go well. I err on the cautious side so would want to be back at Heathrow by 6:00 pm.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Jan 7th, 2014, 05:45 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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You will either have to haul your carry-on around with you or find a place to check it at the airport.

And I don;t hink you will be in London by 11 am - you will have to deplane and head through Immigration (which may be crowded then) before traveling to Central London.

If it were me I would pair Westminster Abby with Big Ben - but only you know what your interests are.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 7th, 2014, 01:10 PM
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Thank you ~ for replying !

And for the advice about the tube~ and times and things to do ~

My carry on ~hopefully~ won't be too bulky, but if there is a place I can check it into, even something like a paid locker, I'd definitely prefer that ~

Thank you everyone ~ I suppose I'll continue planning and let whatever happens happens during those 11 hours! hehe
peekingbear is offline  
Jan 7th, 2014, 01:21 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Here's the information on where you can check your carry-on, there are no lockers.

The queues can be long to both drop off and pick up checked luggage, the English term is "left luggage."


I would check the bag at the outbound terminal, where flight to Korea is scheduled.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Jan 7th, 2014, 02:54 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,155
Again, bank ATMs in Europe charge no transaction fees. Your US bank may charge a transaction fee for each withdrawal and/or an exchange rate. My credit union account does not charge a transaction fee and charges an exchange rate of only 1% over the interbank rate.

Before your trip, be sure to tell your bank you will be using ATMs abroad and when, or they may suspect fraud and block your card. It's better to have 2 cards than one. Also 2 credit cards.
Mimar is offline  
Jan 7th, 2014, 09:03 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 6
Thank you everyone for the helpful replies ~!

I need to go to the bank to withdraw some cash sometime soon so I'll ask them about the transaction fees etc. ~
Luckily I am in possession of my mum's credit card as well, so I have that as a back up ~

Thank you once again everyone ~ I'm so excited for my trip now ~^^
peekingbear is offline  
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