First Time teaveling to London

Old Sep 18th, 2006, 09:02 AM
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First Time teaveling to London

My husband and I are in the begining stages of planning a trip to London. We are going the first 2 weeks of May 2007.

The areas we are looking into staying are Bloomsbury, Kennsington, and Mayfair. We are looking to spend no more than $200.00 a night for eight nights. Any suggestions?

What types of clothing should we take for that time of year? We are from florida so we are not used to cool weather.

When should we buy a travel card for transportation?

What is the best way to get into London from Gatwick?

I'm sure I will Have more questions but this seems like a good start.

Thank You.
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Old Sep 18th, 2006, 09:11 AM
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Your hotel budget is rather low for London but still do-able. I find the area around Bloomsbury the most convenient for hotels, and that's where I like to stay since it allows me to walk more. Just be aware that a $200 in London is pretty much a budget hotel. But sometimes there are good deals, especially if booked in conjunction with airfares. But I haven't been to London since 2004, so I think you'll benefit more from other posters who have traveled there more recently.
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Old Sep 18th, 2006, 09:12 AM
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I think you should seriously consider checking out a discounter such as londontown.com for hotel bookings.
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Old Sep 18th, 2006, 09:20 AM
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We just got back from London and stayed at the Copthorne Tara Hotel near the Kensington High Street tube stop. It is in a nice neighborhood with excellent access to all the things you want to see & do in London. We paid $160/night (that included the taxes) and booked through Lastminute.com.
Here is the Copthorne web site:
http://www.millenniumhotels.com/MCIL.nsf/LU_HOTELDOC/43$$HotelDescription?OpenDocument

If you check TripAdvisor.com there are many reviews there of the Copthorne Tara. We enjoyed our stay there and slept well every night.

When looking for hotels in London be aware that many places will quote a price, but it doesn't include the taxes. So we were quoted 75 GBP/ night, but with taxes it was about 88 GBP/night.
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Old Sep 18th, 2006, 09:22 AM
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Priceline is great for London. Go to biddingfortravel.com to see how it's done and what folks have been getting - 4* in every zone for around $100.
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Old Sep 18th, 2006, 09:35 AM
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There are also a lot of B&Bs in the Bloomsbury area, with more reasonable prices.

A few

http://www.mentonehotel.com/
http://www.crescenthoteloflondon.com/
http://www.harlingfordhotel.com/

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Old Sep 18th, 2006, 10:00 AM
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Can't help on hotels as I live here, but on your other questions:

"What types of clothing should we take for that time of year? We are from florida so we are not used to cool weather."
It's always hard to predict the weather in advance. May could be cool and damp (low 60s) or quite warm (mid 70s). Expect it to be changeable, at least. I advise layers so you can adapt, pack a small foldaway umbrella, and leave your shorts and ski jackets at home! A light jacket should suffuce, but I suggest checking the forecasts just before you leave.

"When should we buy a travel card for transportation?"
You can get it when you arrive at Victoria Station from Gatwick - there's no cost benefit to buying in advance. Bring passport sized photos with you so you can buy an Oyster card - this is an electronic ticket which is far cheaper than the paper ones. All you could ever want to know, and more, can be found here:
http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/fares-tick...er/general.asp

"What is the best way to get into London from Gatwick?"
Take the Gatwick Express train to Victoria Station, it takes 30 minutes. From here you can get the Tube, bus or a taxi to take you to your final destination.
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Old Sep 18th, 2006, 10:23 AM
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Kate, is a passport photo still required? We didn't need one when we purchased our Oyster cards. I think wolverine will want to load the Oyster with a 7 day travelcard and then top up with a few ££ if they have an 8th day of travel.
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Old Sep 18th, 2006, 10:35 AM
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Thank You all for responding so quickly.

We will need to travel back to Gatwick.

We are considering using a taxi to and from the airport..Instead of dragging our luggage all over. Is this a good idea?

Michel..Thank You for the B&B links..This is a great option. There are so many choices and we have gone back and fourth for days.

My husband is working on priceline now to see what happens.

Kate..Thanks so much for your suggestions.
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Old Sep 18th, 2006, 11:04 AM
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A taxi to and from Gatwick will be very expensive (compared to the £9 train).

If you're absolutely averse to dragging your luggage from the train station to the taxi stand in London (dragging it at Gatwick is a wash regardless of how you get to town), you might want to consider a car service. I believe http://justairports.co.uk has a £42 special right now, but whether it will be available in May is unknown.
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Old Sep 18th, 2006, 11:59 AM
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We always get the train from Gatwick to Victoria Station and then get a cab to our hotel. It's less expensive to get the Southern train than the Express, but not by too much. Posters here say it only takes about ten minutes longer.

Last fall, the Morgan Hotel in Bloomsbury was £95 for a double, and that included tax and full breakfast. The Morgan is just a couple of blocks off Oxford Street and in walking distance of Covent Garden and the theater district. It's a small, family-owned facility, not fancy, but comfortable. It doesn't have a lift, so if stairs bother you, you would need a lower floor. Our room looked out on the side of the British Museum. There is more discussion on this forum about The Morgan, which you can find by typing the name in the search block.

I do agree that Priceline is the way to go in London. We presently have a good deal through them for the Millennium Gloucester in South Kensington. If you book a vacation package through them (air plus hotel), you can choose from a list of hotels in various areas of the city rather than just bidding blind.

Good luck on planning your visit to my favorite city.
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Old Sep 18th, 2006, 12:01 PM
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Sorry, meant to say that you should get what they call a "return ticket" if you take the train. (That's a round trip ticket in U.S. parlance.)
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Old Sep 18th, 2006, 12:25 PM
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I am not sure about the hotels you mentioned, but it is very possible to find decent accomodations for under 200 bucks per night in general...

I would definately avoid the Bayswater area. I stayed in Earl's Court and loved all the different shops and stores and grocery stores that were around. I suggest Garden View Hotel.....I am not sure if you are looking for a super luxurious hotel, which it isn't. But if it isn't a special occasion vacation (like a 2nd honeymoon or anniversary), and you want something clean, decent, and close to transportation, I would strongly suggest it.

Of course, there are plenty of those who frown at anything in Earl's Court. But, I found it quite nice, and I appreciated the locality of the different marks and spencer and sainsbury (sp?) markets.....I had the most delicious hummus!

Here is a link to a pic of my single bed hotel room....sorry, this pic is sideways...

http://tinyurl.com/qkkgl

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Old Sep 18th, 2006, 01:41 PM
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Try Hoteldoorman.com. We got the Bonnington in Bloomsbury with them for 85 pounds.
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Old Sep 18th, 2006, 03:20 PM
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Hello everyone, I can't thank you all enough for all your helpful information.

My husband was sucessful on Priceline..We will be staying at the Crowne Plaza Hotel St. James Street for can you believe it!!! $115.00 USD a night!!!!

We are so excited...Really a trip of a lifetime for us.

If you have anymore suggestions on how to do London in seven days please let me know.....
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Old Sep 18th, 2006, 03:40 PM
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That is a great deal! Which area did you specify and how many stars? I may try to get the same deal...
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Old Sep 18th, 2006, 03:50 PM
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115 dollars is without taxes, isn't it ? Anyway, it's a great offer Have a nice time in London !!
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Old Sep 18th, 2006, 04:04 PM
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It is located in the Westminster area and is a 4 star hotel.

We had to go through 5 areas on priceline and our bids started at $80.00 usd..bid was accepted at $115.00 usd....Link to the hotel www.ichotelsgroup.com
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Old Sep 18th, 2006, 06:25 PM
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Thanks for the tip! It looks like a nice hotel in a nice area. I notice from their website though, that you have to get a deluxe room in order to sleep three, and Priceline peddles standard rooms usually. Curses! Traveling with a child makes using Priceline almost impossible...
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Old Sep 18th, 2006, 07:12 PM
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And I opened this post because I thought it was a really cute way to ask about where to find the best high tea in London.
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