London- First Visit

Jun 27th, 2007, 02:54 PM
  #1  
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London- First Visit

My husband and I will be arriving in London on July 26 and had a few questions:
1) We arrive at 710am from the US. How long does it generally take to go thru customs and to pickup your luggage?

2) Is it wise to ge the Oyster card with say 20GBP on it for 5 days stay and add if needed? Is it best to purchase this at Heathrow or tube station?

3) I'm having a hard time deciding how to get from Heathrow to our hotel in County Hall. The taxi will probably cost us about $100. Other option is to take the Paddington Express (cost?) and then tubing it to either Westminister or Waterloo (read that Westminister is closer and then a 5-10 min walk across the bridge. There's two of us with one piece of luggage (probably close to the baggge max weight)as were taking the train to Paris for 5 days. My concern are stairs and potential escalators being down. Any other suggestions?

rohani is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 03:06 PM
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Forgot to ask what the weather is typically in July. I've been checking the last few days and it seems to be raining an awful lot. Hopefully it will clear up... so much for summer.
rohani is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 03:42 PM
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Rohani,

Barring anything unusual you should be able to get your bags and get through customs in about an hour. By then you will be hot and frustrated, so it all depends on how much more you want to put up with to get to your hotel. We usually take the tube out of terminal 4 to the closest tube station to our hotel. From there we will take a short cab ride or if we know exactly where we are going we just walk. It will be hot and probably rainy, but that all depends on your luck. So do you feel lucky. No matter, you get what you get in London.

I never buy multi-day passes while in London because it all depends on what you plan on going that day. I find it cheaper to just but a day pass and after about 3 rides it pays for itself. You must always assume there will be stairs wherever you go. You will also find the occassional broken escalator or elevator. If this is a problem, plan on taking more cabs if you can afford them that is the way to go. Have a good trip.

Greg
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Jun 27th, 2007, 03:48 PM
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Greg,

Thx for the response. Any reason why you go out of Terminal 4 and not 3? This could certainly depend on where you're flying in from. Not sure how lucky I'm feeling right now, but I'd rather have it warm and rainy then cold I suppose. We like to walk around alot and only take cabs if we can't take another step. No use in spending my time in cab stuck in traffic.
rohani is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 03:52 PM
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On our last trip to London we "discovered" the bus system. The tue is fun and different but the busses are cheaper and you can see the neighborhood you are passing through. Barring really bad traffic you might give it a try. This is not for your trip from the airport but for moving around the city after you settle in.
AisleSeat is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 03:52 PM
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"the tube is fun" sorry.
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Jun 27th, 2007, 04:12 PM
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OK - tube or train will each require changes and much schlepping of bags. Plus you will be competing w/ hundreds of commuters at for cabs at Paddington.

Easier would be a car service like justairports.com much cheaper than a cab yet still door to door. it will take a while due to morning traffic but you would have to deal w/ the luggage in tube/train station.

What to put on your oyster partly depends on what you are doing day five - just going back to the airport or are you spending the day IN London?? Usually for 5 - 6 days, a 7 day weekly travel card loaded on the Oyster will be cheaper than daily passes. Plus the weekly travel card will get you 2 for 1 specials at many tourist attractions - which you won't qualify for w/ daily cards . . . .
janisj is online now  
Jun 27th, 2007, 04:13 PM
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oops - that should be >>It will take a while due to morning traffic but you wouldn't have to deal w/ the luggage in tube/train stations.<<
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Jun 27th, 2007, 06:17 PM
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You would only save a few minutes by taking the Heathrow Express to Paddington and then taking the tube from there to Westminster. And it will be a costly few minutes. Instead, take the tube (Piccadilly line) from Heathrow to Hammersmith. Walk to the other side of the same platform and take the District line to Westminster.

As janisj says, loading a seven-day travelcard for zones 1-2 on an Oyster card is probably your best option. Load the card with a few more pounds to cover your tube ride from Heathrow and any other trips you might take outside of zones 1-2.
TimS is offline  
Jul 11th, 2007, 08:33 PM
  #10  
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Thanks for the great info. I think I'll be taking Tim's suggestion here as there doesn't seem to be any issues with stairs/escalators as least from I can tell from the schedule info on the journey planner.
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