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happywanderer Apr 8th, 2003 03:25 AM

London! General Q's
My wife &amp; I are preparing for our first trip to London --7 days/6 nites--and we're debating whether to book 2 day trips here in U.S. before we leave or wait till we get to London. Is it better to do before we leave or when we get there?<BR><BR>We plan on walking a lot thru London itself and will use the tube sparingly. But what are the pros and cons of getting a London Pass or Visitor's card. We don't want to be restricted to specific dates.<BR><BR>Lastly, what is a good rail website for figuring out how much it costs to get from London to another town (eg.-Bath).<BR><BR>Thx for your feedback.<BR><BR>Bob<BR><BR>Bob<BR>

PatrickLondon Apr 8th, 2003 03:34 AM

For train fares and timetables:<BR><BR>www.thetrainline .com<BR>You tend to get better fares if you're willing to tie yourself down in advance, but for trips closer to London, day returns (after 9.30) can be cheaper.<BR><BR>For London Transport travelcards and fares, see <BR>For: one payment (eg in your case about �20 for the week) and you can pick and choose bus, tube or suburban train as you feel like it (and get a third off boat fares).<BR>Against: You might not use �20-worth of fares, and you miss all those invigorating conversations with bus drivers, ticket clerks and other passengers as you consider your options and hunt for change each time you travel....<BR><BR><BR>

Travelnick Apr 8th, 2003 03:52 AM

Definitely buy a travelcard for the week. there is no buy Monday requirement as in much of continental Europe. Do not underestimate the sheer size of London. Unlike lots of other cities with one distinct centre, London's centre could be considered a variety of areas - Chelsea, Knightsbridge, leicester square, oxford st etc. So walking can be a bit much at times and a travelcard jsut makes life so much easier. I would not pre-book - you may find that you do not want the longer day trips where it may be more economical to book in advance, or your day trips are eg. Windsor with no advantages in prebooking at all.

Anonymous Apr 8th, 2003 03:55 AM

There have been MANY discussions of the London Pass and the various travelcards (visitors and regular) on these boards, just do a search. In essence, the London Pass get you into various tourist attractions for free, but since so many are free anyway (major museums etc.) it's not a good buy for most people. <BR><BR>If you plan to use the tube &quot;sparingly,&quot; then your best bet might be carnets, which come in books of 10 and are each good for one ride within Zone 1 (which is where most tourist attractions are found).

kaudrey Apr 8th, 2003 03:56 AM

On the day trips, I think it depends what you mean. If you are just taking a train to Windsor Castle or Hampton Court Palace, both of which are wonderful, you just take the train and buy tickets at the station. Same for day trips to Oxford, Canterbury, Bath or any other city accessible by train. <BR><BR>If you mean a bus tour or something, it might make sense to do it in advance, especially if you are going in the summer when it is more crowded with tourists.<BR><BR>Have fun,<BR>Karen

janis Apr 8th, 2003 10:09 AM

There is no reason to book tours ahead of time. Tourism is waaaaay down and almost no tours get fully booked. Plus what if you pre-book say a tour to Salisbury/Stonehenge and it ends up being a horribly nasty stormy day. NOT fun.<BR><BR>So wait - because there is so much to see/do in London, and you may decide to not go any further than Hampton Court or Kew.<BR><BR>And even if you plan on walking a lot, you will still use the tube/buses a lot. London is not like Paris where most tourist attractions are within walking distance. The main tourist areas stretch from the Tower in the east to Kensington in the west, and Regents Park in the north to Waterloo in the south. This is not a walkable area - it is huge. So you will take public transport a lot more than you think - especially if it is very wet.<BR><BR>Get a 7 day, zone 1 transport pass after you arrive in London.

janis Apr 8th, 2003 11:44 AM

to clarify what I meant - almost ALL parts of London are walkable, but it is so spread out that you won't be walking from one end to the other. You'll definitely need public transport between all those walkable neighborhoods.<BR><BR>at minimum you will be on the tube/buses 3 or 4 times every day.

chrisp Apr 8th, 2003 02:02 PM

I wouldnt pre purchase. The weather could ruin it for you. There is no need to. For Windsor Castle or Hampton court palace get the &quot;all in one&quot; from Waterloo station on South West Trains. For Warwick Castle get the Chiltern Railway &quot;all in one&quot; from Marylebone Station. There are others but they dont come to mind at the mo. Look up the attraction you would like to visit and follow their links on how to get there. Cheers

maxie Apr 9th, 2003 08:40 AM

It would be a good idea to purchase a travelcard. You will be walking quite a bit and some of the sites are not close together. London is a great city for walking but it is so easy to hop the tube &amp; travel all over the City. In my opinion, I would not purchase the London Pass. Did that once and felt that we did not use it to it's full advantage on a week trip. We were in London last week and I believe that tourism is down. I would schedule the out of town sightseeing trips once I got to London and received the latest weather report. We had a full week of sun and it was fantastic. Have fun!

SB_Travlr Apr 9th, 2003 09:29 AM

Got back late last night, and I agree with the other posters. You might walk a lot within an area you choose to explore, but will probably want to use the Tube or bus from one part of town to another. A daily or weekly transport card saves hassle and queueing, not to mention money.<BR><BR>As to day trips, the Original Walking Company brochure lists a number of out-of-town excursions with very good guides, informal group -- in addition to their regular schedule of walks. I'd recommend any of them. And as suggested, no need to book ahead -- London's not crowded now, and it's best to be flexible to accommodate weather, fatigue, and other travelling variables!<BR><BR>Have a great trip.

happywanderer Apr 10th, 2003 03:55 AM

Many thanks to all of you for your comments. We're really psyched about our trip and your info will really help in our planning.<BR><BR>Thx again.<BR><BR>Bob

trvlgrl Apr 10th, 2003 07:29 AM

Also, if you get a weekly travelcard, you can often get discounts on train travel (to Bath, etc.) Just show the travelcard at the station when you go to buy your tickets and see. <BR><BR>Have fun

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