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London layover.

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Aug 7th, 2012, 11:39 AM
  #1
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London layover.

I suspect most here will say to stay put, but looks like we will be stuck at London Heathrow from a 6:20 AM arrival until our 3 PM departure to Venice. We arrive American and go out BA, and our luggage will already be checked through. I've been working for months on getting an earlier flight, but because it's award travel, we just can't seem to get one -- especially since it's the weekend of the Venice Film Festival.

I don't really want to go into the city, but was thinking of taking a taxi to somewhere fairly close. My partner's never done Windsor for example -- or is there another idea? Some small town worth whiling away the time and having a nice pub lunch before returning tot he airport? Somewhere where we could probably go by taxi? Any cost estimate for a taxi to Windsor each way? Sitting in the lounge after an overnight flight just seems so dreadfully dull!
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Aug 7th, 2012, 12:04 PM
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Search Windsor here on the forum. Lot's of folks have done it from Heathrow and I think you will find pretty specific information. You would have time for an English breakfast then the castle and a walk about town and maybe even lunch before having to return to the airport.
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Aug 7th, 2012, 12:58 PM
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If you like gardens a lot, a lot, you could hire a car to Wisley, the Royal Horticultural Society's garden, which is about 20 miles away. Yuo would have to arrange to have them pick you up.

The railway is only 4 miles away in Woking, but someone else will have to tell you if you can get from LHR to Woking.

The gardens are, of course, spectacular.
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Aug 7th, 2012, 01:15 PM
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Thanks, Ackislander.
But what was I thinking -- our luggage won't be checked through to Venice as we are doing carry on only. I assume we can find lockers to put bags in?
I also failed to mention that this will be on a Sunday -- if that makes any difference.
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Aug 7th, 2012, 01:30 PM
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For our trip this past April, we wanted to do the same thing (but ran out of time, so unfortunately didn't). We were going from Premier Inn Terminal 5 to Windsor (so close to the airport, but not at the airport to start), then back to the hotel to grab luggage and on to Terminal 5 to catch our plane. This was for 4 people.

Upon the recommendation of the "expert" for Windsor on another travel forum, I contacted two taxi companies:

1. Windsor Car Service - they quoted me 15 pounds each way, said they only needed 20 min notice. This was quite a but cheaper than other companies I contacted, and I just got a better "feeling" from them. They were very prompt in replying to my inquiry.

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2. Five Star: they quoted us 18 pounds going to Windsor from our hotel, 25 pounds returning from Windsor to Heathrow with a the stop to pick up luggage at the hotel (so not sure if the extra was for the stop, the luggage, or both.)

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These quotes are from late February of this year.

HTH!
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Aug 7th, 2012, 01:33 PM
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Thanks, that's great information, amamax2, and much cheaper than I'd assumed. But I thought we could just get a regular taxi from a queue at the airport -- no? Are those just "London" taxis which won't go to Windsor?
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Aug 7th, 2012, 02:41 PM
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I was advised that the taxis in the queue at the airport would be about twice the cost.
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Aug 7th, 2012, 02:53 PM
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I really liked Windsor, but I'm not sure what all will be open early Sunday morning.

When we were at Terminal 5, looking for a taxi to Windsor, the taxi drivers were quoting about L50 for the trip. We took the bus instead, which took quite a while wending its way through rush-hour traffic in Slough.

Returning to Heathrow after staying a couple nights, we booked a taxi through our B&B; the fare for that trip was about L15-L18. Something about the rules for local drivers vs. London taxis.

Your bags are a bit of a problem. There are no luggage lockers; instead look for Left Luggage baggage storage rooms. Given that you arrive so early, you could take your bags to Terminal 5, store them there, then go off on your trip to Windsor -- or wherever.
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Aug 7th, 2012, 04:03 PM
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Yes, Patrick, the taxis in the queue are London taxis and are therefore under no obligation to accept a fare for a journey outside London. And if they accept one, they can negotiate whatever price they choose. Almost invariably they will want to charge a price comparable to what they would get if going into London, i.e. £50 or more.
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Aug 7th, 2012, 04:29 PM
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You don't actually have all that much time Patrick. You'll have to go to T-5 and queue at left luggage. Then meet your pre-booked car - probably not before 8AM at the earliest. The castle opens at 9:45 most days.

The on your return you'll again have to queue at left luggage and you'll want to be in T-5 by about 1PM (1:30 at the latest) meaning leaving Windsor by 12:30-ish. Too early for lunch and barely enough time to visit the castle.

I'd just book a car service/local cab over to Windsor, have a nice breakfast or morning tea, walk around town a bit and have the car service take you back to LHR.
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Aug 7th, 2012, 05:44 PM
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stay at the airport and have a nice lunch at T5 or go to a lux airport hotel for lunch--if there is one...
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Aug 7th, 2012, 06:09 PM
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Gordon Ramsey does have a restaurant at T-5 (I ate then in June and it was quite good - though the reviews haven't been brilliant)
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Aug 8th, 2012, 04:02 AM
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Not recommended.

An English friend ate at the Gordon Ramsey in T-5 on her way to visit us last month. She had eggs benedict. They were cold. When she complained, the manager said, "Yes, many of our customers say that." In other words, they made the hollandaise in advance and couldn't figure out how to keep it warm.

We heard this story in the Crossroads Cafe at the Nantucket Airport where the hollandaise was hot, since they prepared it fresh for each breakfast.

The Terror of the Kitchen ought to visit his own place sometime, or he could come to Nantucket to see how to serve breakfast properly.
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Aug 8th, 2012, 08:11 AM
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I've also eaten twice at the Ramsay restaurant in T5. Once onsite and the other a take-away for a flight to Budapest. Both were OK, neither anything special (bit pricey perhaps), and I preferred the take-away (for it's purpose and content) better.
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