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Last-Minute Trip to London & Environs - lots of questions

Last-Minute Trip to London & Environs - lots of questions

May 15th, 2008, 05:51 AM
  #21  
yk
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,195
I have a few questions about Windsor Castle:

1) If I go on Friday, do I have to take the train AFTER 9:30am in order to qualify for the Saver/Cheap Day return ticket?

2) How long should I allocate to Windsor Castle? How does it compare to Hampton Court Palace in terms of size/things to see etc?

3) There are 2 rail stations in Windsor, the Central Station and the Riverside Station. It looks like trains from Paddington go to Windsor Central and trains from Waterloo go to Windsor Riverside.

Is the Central station closer to the castle? Also, the PAD-Central trains seem to run faster.
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May 15th, 2008, 06:28 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Re C2BK's info about early morning visits to Stonehenge -- English Heritage offers Inner Access to Stonehenge both early AM and in the evening. All the booking info is on the English Heritage website. Because of the times, you couldn't do either by bus, but a taxi would work. If that interests you - you must book ahead.

As for Windsor - yes, the discount train fares are after 09:30. But the regular fare isn't all that much so not that big a deal. Windsor and HCP are entirely different but really take about the same time investment - about 1/2 a day altogether w/ travel to/from London.

Windsor Central station is a bit closer to the Castle than Riverside. The Paddington > Central route involves a change at Slough. Waterloo > Riverside is straight through. So it is really 6 of 1/half dozen of the other. I'd really decide depending on where I'm starting in London. If more convenient to Waterloo, I'd go to Riverside, and if Paddington was more convenient, I'd go to Central.
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May 15th, 2008, 07:02 AM
  #23  
yk
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Join Date: Jan 2004
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I would like to do the inner circle access for Stonehenge, but given the lack of public transport to get there so early, I think I'll have to pass this time. It is a bit too expensive for a taxi when it's just me going solo. I'll save that for next time. Anyhow, I will still do the regular Stonehenge tour.

There is no way I'll rent a car. It's too difficult for me to drive alone, on the wrong side, plus I don't drive manual.

I looked at the train ticket prices for Windsor again. If I do the cheap day return (after 9:30a) it is £8.10. For open return, it is £10.20 from PAD vs £14.20 from Waterloo.

Not a huge difference if I leave from Paddington.

I have failed multiple bids on PL this AM for both 4* and 3*. Hotwire has a 4* in Kensington available for ~$154/n all-in. I think I'll wait until tomorrow and try PL again first.

When I first bidded for 4* Kensington at $80, I got a counter-offer at $123.

In any case, I guess I should go ahead and buy my plane ticket first! It's still on hold.
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May 15th, 2008, 11:17 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
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yk, have you decided what zones you're OK with? What dates did you finally decide to stay in London?
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May 15th, 2008, 11:21 AM
  #25  
yk
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Hi WT-

It'll be May 22-26 (4 nights). I started with 4* and zones Kensington, Bloomsbury, Westminster, and Mayfair. I bidded up to $105.

Then I started a new bid for 3*, and the same 4 zones. Bidded up to $110.

I never investigated much for Notting Hill zone, but I guess it should be okay, esp I will need to use Paddington Station at least twice during my stay.
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May 15th, 2008, 11:25 AM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
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You may be having difficulty due to combining weekdays and weekends at this late stage. Thus, a hotel that has availability weekdays may not be the same as one with availability on the weekend.

I'd consider trying the May 23-26 part, and then doing something separate for May 22-23.
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May 15th, 2008, 11:28 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Example: Hotwire has May 23-26 as $82 for 3* for Bloomsbury-Marble Arch.
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May 15th, 2008, 11:42 AM
  #28  
yk
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That's an excellent point, WT. It looks like the 3* Marble Arch/Bloomsbury is the Holiday Inn Regents Park.

The only problem is what to do for 5/22-23.

One option is book an extra night at the HI, but the cheapest rate (via hotel website) is >£200!

Another option is find another hotel for that night in London, but I'll waste time checking-in and checking-out.

Third option is stay at LHR (if I can book a cheap airport hotel) for that night. Since my flight doesn't get in until 8:30pm anyway. It also makes more sense if I visit Windsor the next day. But what to do w/luggage when I go visit Windsor?

Fourth option is book a hotel in Windsor for that night. Go there from LHR, then after Windsor castle, go into London.

Maybe 4th option is the best.
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May 15th, 2008, 11:45 AM
  #29  
 
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Yes, that sounds pretty sensible.
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May 15th, 2008, 12:24 PM
  #30  
yk
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If Hotwire is offering the 3* for $79/n during 5/23-26, I should be able to find something cheaper with Priceline.

Now that I am changing the dates, I guess I can try PL bid again today rather than waiting for 24 hours.
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May 15th, 2008, 01:35 PM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
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If it is Holiday Inn Regents Park (which looks likely, but not certain), I think it would be worth the premium over a random 3* hotel. I guess you can't be sure, so maybe it isn't worth the premium.
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May 15th, 2008, 01:49 PM
  #32  
yk
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WT- It's quite likely it'll be the HI Regents Park. I think someone inquired about the 3* Bloomsbury on BetterBidding.

Also, I cross-checked the hotel on tripadvisor. The HI has the exact same rating and 100+ comments w/the last one from March. Based on all these, it seems highly likely.

I think I'll probably take the hotwire deal. The location is decent and the reviews are okay.

Either way, thanks for helping me save $60/n x 3 nights!
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May 15th, 2008, 06:57 PM
  #33  
yk
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in case anyone is still following this, I booked the 3* hotel via Hotwire for $82/n for 3 nights. The hotel did show up as the Holiday Inn Regents Park.

Now I still have to find myself a place to sleep on May 22!
yk is offline  
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