London Itinerary/Tube or Walk

Mar 9th, 2007, 11:15 AM
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London Itinerary/Tube or Walk

I have gleaned so much information over the past several months from this board that now that I am getting close to my trip (late May) I want to finalize some details I am still unsure about. I know the knowledge base for London on this board is great so let me pick your brains!

I really want to know if walking is the way to go or if we will need to Tube to most places and although I have read every post on Oyster and Pay as you Go I am still not sure about the amount of money to put on the card.

We are 3 adults and 2 kids (11 and 4) and arrive in London around Noon on a coach from the Cotswolds. We are staying at the newly named Best Western Victoria Palace (formerly Hamilton House Hotel) on Warwick Way. It is supposed to be a 10 minute or so walk from all the Victoria stations.

Day1 - British Museum, Hard Rock Cafe, Planet HOllywood (this is for my Dad who insists on tacky souvenirs)

Day2 - Hampton court Palace (we plan on taking a Thames cruise one way and the Tube the other as I know it is much too far to walk)

Day3 - Buckingham Palace, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Whitehall Way to see all the attractions, London Eye, Imperial War Museum

Day4 - Westminster Abbey, Harrods, Hyde/Kensington Park, Princess Di playground

Day5 - Tower of London, Self-walk in the Golders Greer/Jewish neighborhood

I was thinking 25 pounds on each Oyster for the adults would cover it but I also don't want to have to cash out too much at the end (I don't foresee going back anytime soon so no reason to leave money on the card).

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.
trvlgirlmq is offline  
Mar 10th, 2007, 01:47 AM
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Walking everywhere on your itinerary would exhaust you.

Whatever you put on Oyster PAYG, they would not take more than 50p less than the equivalent travelcard for any one day (£6.10 in zones 1-2 if you start before 0930 and use the tube, £4.60 if you start after 0930, £3 if you only use buses on that day).

For Hampton Court, the boat ride all the way is a very long trip. You might find it quicker to take the boat between Hampton Court and Richmond or Kew Bridge, taking the suburban train to or from there (the terminus is at Waterloo: either get a bus between there and Victoria, or change at Clapham Junction for rail services to and from Victoria, or Vauxhall for the tube to Victoria or Pimlico). The boat services also stop at Putney Bridge, and there's a tube station nearby.

You should also be aware that you can't use Oyster PAYG to get to Hampton Court. You'd have to buy a separate rail ticket.

Another option might be to go for a 7-day travelcard. That's £23.20 for adults for zones 1&2 (£11.60 for the 11-year old), but you could get an add-on for zone 6 (Hampton Court) cheaper than the ordinary rail single ticket, and one-third off the cost of your boat ride. That could still work out cheaper than 5 daily Oyster PAYG rates plus the ordinary boat and rail fares to Hampton Court.
PatrickLondon is online now  
Mar 10th, 2007, 02:46 AM
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My first bit of advice is to get a map to see where sights are in relation to other sights.

For example you have Westminster Abbey on Day 4 but it's right by all the places you are going to see on Day 3.

The Imperial War Museum is JUST a bit too far out of the way for convenience for the rest of that day probably could be combined with the British Museum as they are near to the Northern Line

And why Golders Green? Unless you have personal ties to the area I can't see why you are going as it's principaly a residential area. I'd rather go to Greenwich which is a simple trip from the Tower - and you can get a boat back to Westminster
alanRow is offline  
Mar 10th, 2007, 04:19 AM
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Good advice above. Just another comment - you'll have a 4 year old along. Walking long distances might be a problem - having to go at the 4yo's pace. Even some tube trips may be daunting since some stations can be very crowded and some transfers require quite long walks/stairs underground. I am short (not nearly as short as a 4yo but pretty short for an adult) and getting through the crowds in some tube stations can feel be very uncomfortable.

I would study the bus routes on the TFL website and plan on doing much of your travel by bus. That will often be easier than schlepping through the tube.

I also agree that a few of your sites could be better grouped for proximity.

About Hampton Court. Take the train from Waterloo and after touring the palace and grounds - THEN decide if you want to take the boat back into town (depending on the weather and timing). The train can get you there at or near opening and you'll have plenty of time to tour the Palace/eat lunch etc. Just makes more sense than taking a slow boat TO the Palace and not getting there until afternoon.
janisj is online now  
Mar 10th, 2007, 12:08 PM
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One other thing to factor in, the weather.

London does have occational periods of brightness, but I wouldn't want to punt the Thames in the rain.

Flexibility is the key. If the young one is getting tired, pick an alternative out of your bag of sites to see.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Mar 10th, 2007, 12:29 PM
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I'm not sure about Golders Green either, unless you want to go to some of the restaurants there. The area itself has turned into yet another dumpy high street - nothing like it used to be even twenty years ago. However, you could tie it in with a visit to Hampstead, and Highgate which are (supposedly*) more charming areas.

*I find Hampstead boring these days, the boutiques have been replaced with the usual high street nonsense, and Highgate has to be one of the most depressing places - for me anyway - on Earth! In the days when I had a dog and wanted a change from central London parks I'd go to one of these leafier areas in north London and gradually grew to detest them! For a tourist though the contrast will be rather more interesting.
m_kingdom2 is offline  
Mar 10th, 2007, 01:14 PM
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To clarify something in the answers above - it's not the tube to Hampton Court, but a regular overground suburban train service (to the palace's own station). We round these parts know what you're talking about, but you might confuse people elsewhere. There's also no meaningful answer to questions such as "which line do I take for Hampton Court?", because they're not named. Just call it a train
owain is offline  
Mar 10th, 2007, 01:38 PM
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Here is the tourist bus map:

And here is the geographical map:

You can print the former at home on a single letter sheet, and the latter is available free at Tube stations.
Robespierre is offline  
Mar 10th, 2007, 02:00 PM
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How much is a tube ticket from Heathrow to central London? And how much is a supplement for it if you are buying a 7 day travel card? If a person is not going to ride the tube again that day, does it make sense to use a day of a travelcard plus a supplement as opposed to just paying the fare (on the oyster)?
NeoPatrick is online now  
Mar 10th, 2007, 02:08 PM
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If it's the only journey of the day I wouldn't do it as a supplement - I'd start the Travelcard the following day but put extra money on the Oystercard to pay for Heathrow to London (ie use it PAYG).

The last thing you want to do is pay for a single ticket
alanRow is offline  
Mar 10th, 2007, 04:33 PM
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Janis or Owain,
What do you mean that you can't use PAYG to Hampton Court? Why do they say it's in zone 6 then? Is a zone 1-2 travelcard useful for any part of the train ticket, or does everyone in the party need to buy separate tickets?
What is the cheapest way of getting there and back?
WishIwasthere is offline  
Mar 10th, 2007, 06:30 PM
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Thank you all for your informative replies. I will look them over in more depth tomorrow and make adjustements as necessary.

In regards to the 4 YO we will have a stroller as I do not expect him to be able to walk as far as we do and I am not carrying him around England. We chose the Golders Greer area because of an article in the London Times about a self-walk through this Jewsih neighborhood (bookshops, kosher restarurants, Jewish cemetary, etc). We are Jewish and want to show the kids how there are Jews everywhere. The alternative to this was to do one of the Original London Walks that has a Jewish bent however, I have heard that the East End neighborhood that saw an influx of Jews in the 19 Century is now predominantly Muslim and one of the synagogues is now even a mosque. Not to get political but this does not make me happy and I prefer to spend time in current Jewish owned businesses and areas.

I do have a map of central London as well as the tube that I printed so I will take a look at the lines to see how we can streamline everything while still making everyone as happy as possible.
trvlgirlmq is offline  
Mar 10th, 2007, 11:18 PM
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Regarding golders green, it looks alot like any other Jewish neighborhood. In fact I found pickles from brooklyn there last week. I would suggest the original london walks tour of the old jewish quarter in central london. The golders green neighborhood will take your abour 1 hour to get to by tube from the tower of london, and the central jewish shopping area is about 4 blocks long. Not worth the schlep. Also most of the shops you would want to see start about 5 blocks from the tube station.

You also dont pay for the 4 year old on tube after 9:30 am , and the 11 year old pays a deeply discounted rate and never pay for them on the busses. I would buy two adult weekly oysters, and get a pay as you go for your 11 year old for the tube.

I agree the boat to hampton court is way too long, better by train. Greenwich has a fabulous maritime museum that takes an hour to get to by boat, about 20 minutes by tube.
ellene is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 01:13 AM
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For WishIWasThere: Oyster PAYG doesn't work on a lot of suburban surface rail lines because the operating companies didn't agree to the technology TfL uses for the tube and buses. They agreed to the travelcard system long before Oyster was thought of, but getting the further change to PAYG is a bit more complicated - it requires all stations to have the same model of automatic barriers and connections to the central computer. They have just agreed in principle to adopt the same technology, but it will take time for it to be introduced to all stations.

For the time being, this is where it can and can't be used on suburban rail lines:

PatrickLondon is online now  
Mar 11th, 2007, 01:53 AM
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"Not to get political but this (the establishmrent of a mosque in Brick Lane) does not make me happy "

How dreadfully sad. And (I hope) how lamentably ill-informed

The Christian church first established for refugee Huguenots in Brick Lane contains a clause in its deeds that it may never be used for any purpose except the worship of God. As successive waves of refugees have thrived in London, they have moved out of the overcrowded centre, usually to greener pastures - like Golders Green.

That's why the Christians happily handed the building over to East London's growing Jewish community in the 19th century. It's why the Jewish community - by the late 2oth century practically disappeared from London's poor areas because they'd prospered in our tolerant society - happily handed over the building to the next group of impoverished people seeking a better life. When they too move on, they'll give it to the next group.

For 250 years the world's persecuted have found refuge and prosperity here, and successive religions have shown real tolerance of each others' way to God by handing Brick Lane mosque/synagogue/church/chapel over to people who've not yet had our advantages.

If you understand that and it makes you unhappy, shame on you. If you've not understood that - well, let's hope you feel differntly now you do.
flanneruk is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 03:06 AM
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How much would a mini-cab be? What is the bus/tube fare for 5 people? Is the bus still less expensive? We used a Tourist publication listing destinations and the busses or undergrounds to them. We also found the conductors to be most helpful advising us when to get off!
GSteed is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 04:36 AM
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I must say that I agree with Flanner in being shocked at your remarks about the Mosque in Brick Lane.
As he says, the area has always been one of the first settling points for the impoverished and/or persecuted.
It is still a centre for the rag trade and the Bangladeshis seem to have taken that over from the Jews.
In time they will move up in the world and away from the area.
It will be interesting to see who will be the next people to arrive.
I believe that the mosque was handed on to the Methodists when the
Huguenots left. It has certainly had many reincarnations.
MissPrism is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 04:43 AM
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I went on the Original London Walk "A shtetl called Whitechapel" about 18 months ago and would strongly recommend it. My interest was prompted by wanting to know more about the history of east London rather than any religious affiliation. As flanneruk has pointed out, it's an excellent illustration of how waves of different people have made their homes in London over the years. As well as taking you to the Brick Lane mosque - which was previously a synagogue, Methodist chapel and Hugenot church - the walk often includes a visit to the Bevis-Marks Synagogue, a beautiful building influenced by the architecture of Christopher Wren and still very much in use. There's a good article here about walks in the area .

And while in east London, you could easily catch an overground train from Liverpool Street up to Stamford Hill, not a typical destination for tourists in London but a long-established Jewish neighbourhood with lot of kosher shops etc. Treat yourself to some great pastries from Grodzinski’s bakery and weather permitting, have a picnic in Springfield Park, Upper Clapton or down the road in Stoke Newington’s Clissold Park .
Breda is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 04:56 AM
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Forgot to mention - Brady Street, E1 Jewish cemetery is also close to the area covered by the Original London Walks tour. You can find out about i here
Breda is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 06:15 AM
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The synagog to mosque issue has been addressed/explained better than I could. I urge you not to schlepp all the way to Golders Green.

But one more thing re your transport plans -- Since you will use a stroller for the 4 yo, I definitely suggest you use the buses more than the tube. Some tube stations are fine - but many have long walks and stairs and and most have very looooong escalators. The modern buses are a piece of cake - and usually there are bus stops w/i yards of the major tourist attractions - not so w/ the much less numerous tube stations.
janisj is online now  

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