Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

London layover-hotel and dinner recommendations?

London layover-hotel and dinner recommendations?

Mar 13th, 2008, 02:06 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 20,439
loves2sing,

No, 2-1/2 hours is not unusual for checking in at a major European airport. Most of us advise 3 hours in advance for Paris's Charles de Gaulle. LHR suffers from overcrowding, and CDG from poor design. So don't take a chance and cut the check-in-time; you can check your airline's web site for advice nearer to the time.
Underhill is online now  
Mar 13th, 2008, 03:06 PM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17,176
About the 6 hour trip into London

1.This is not the time to make any assumptions about what teething problems the (then 3 month old T5) will be having. In fact, now is not the time to make any decisions about all this

2. But the most likely T5 problems will be delayed flights (which means you might have more time than you think) or baggage handling (which mean that you migght want to try to do all this with carry-on, so if there ARE T5 baggage probs, it's probably impossible to go into London.) The Heathrow Express is the LEAST likely thing to go wrong: it's hardly ever done so in all its years of service

3. On a Saturday afternoon, the walk from T3 Customs exit to the HEX station, plus an average 7.5 min wait, plus thge trip into town, plus the time to walk to the cab rank and get a cab to Parliament Square, will take 52 minutes. In reverse, to T5, about 55. Virtually certain. No other way of getting there is as fast or as reliable. Saturday early evening traffic can be awful.

4. If you had bags to check in at T5 on BA, you'd probably need to do so 45 mins before takeoff if you'd checked in online beforehand. Check what it says on your booking record, since they may have longer cutoff times during the teething period at T5 - but this nonsense about 2 hours is total crap. It may be necessary on steam-age airlines that don't do online checkin outside their own country. But BA's not one of those.

So it's perfectly possible to go into town, get a cab to the stuff, walk around and get back to catch your flight. I'd forget eating: there's hardly anywhere decent open as early as you're planning, since you're going to need to start making your way back not much later than 1900. And why would anyone eat dinner at 1800?

All this is possible, though, only if your incoming flight's on time and you get through immigration promptly: presumably you'll check your bags through, so you won't need to wait for the bags to arrive (a problem at T3), and Customs is a non-issue here anyway. If the flight's late, stay at the airport, getting the airside bus to T5 and eating at Mr Ramsay's new place. If the immigration queue's too long, ditto. If, after going through immigration the timing looks too tight, just walk to the railway station and get the free train to T5.

There are other options - like prebooking a car to take you to Windsor. But most of them don't let you abort if you're delayed.

Me? In your shoes, I'd get the Heathrow Connect to Southall, look at the amazing Sikh temple, have a nice Punjabi meal ((about as close to our national food as you'll find) then come back to T5. But that might not reflect your ideas about London.

What I certainly wouldn't do in a million years is assume now I have to spend those six hours cooped up in a bloody airport.

Because, unless you're unlucky, you won't have to - and you won't know whether you're unlucky till you're off the AA plane and have got to the immigration desk.
flanneruk is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 04:04 PM
  #23  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 557
flanneruk - You make total sense! I will keep my plans open and play it by ear. If all else fails, I will check out Ramsay's place, love him!

I live near LA and while I realize not all airports are the same, it's hard for me to imagine telling someone with six hours that they wouldn't have time to fit in a short trip out to Manhatten Beach for a nice dinner if it were the only time they had to see a bit of the coast in California. But I recognize that it might not be the same thing in other areas.

Could I expect to check my luggage from LAX on American, then all the way through to Athens on BA?
loves2sing is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 05:42 PM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,913
You are comparing LAX w/ LHR? And London w/ a tiny slice of west Los Angeles?

(Manhattan Beach is less than 5 miles straight down the road from LAX)
janisj is online now  
Mar 13th, 2008, 06:26 PM
  #25  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 557
Yes, I know Manhattan Beach is only 5 miles from the airport, my best friend lives there and she is not only the one who drops us off at LAX but she also babysits my precious 3 lb puppy...sweet Isabella. (sorry, she is sitting here staring at me wanted me to mention her...the dog that is). I know that LA is about half the size of London but that's exactly why I asked on here about getting to London because admittedly I don't know squat about London.
loves2sing is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 06:35 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
I re-read the whole thread and I don't think anybody said that it can't be done. All we said was that it will cost you $200-300 for what will be around 2 hours in London and without knowledge of the city and good places to eat and how to get there, you'll end up in some pub.

1. The Heathrow Express = ~$120 R/T for both

2. If you decide to take a taxi to some specific place from Paddington station = ~$20-30

3. If it's a nice place = ~$100 for both

If that's what you want then by all means go, but I guarantee you won't be seeing much of London in the 2 hours.

I believe that's what most here are saying.

btw, your luggage will be checked all the way through, but as I already said, you will need to drag your carry ons with you as it will be impossible to leave it at the airport since you will arrive in term 3 and depart from terminal 5.

Good luck and have a great trip!
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 07:08 PM
  #27  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 557
I realize no one said it can't be done and I really do appreciate all the detailed information. And I totally see your point of not wanting to spend a fortune and hassle just to have dinner outside of the airport. I also realize we wouldn't see much of London which is what I meant by my mentioning Manhattan Beach, not so much for comparison as if the two were similar. Manhatten Beach isn't seeing much of LA either, but it does give you a taste of California if you've never been, and its something to do to get out of the airport for awhile. I suppose if someone wanted to see the Hollywood sign in the middle of rush hour I might suggest otherwise. My point was only to show where my head was at...thinking there must be something I can do in that timeframe. So while I don't expect to see much of the London sights, I was hoping to get out and stroll around and at this point hopping into a pub sounds pretty good
loves2sing is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 08:28 PM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,913
I really think you need to get Manhattan Beach out of your mind. You can get from LAX to MB and back in no time (except during rush hour and even then it doesn't take long). It is just no comparison.

Go ahead - London is calling you But be prepared for some headaches. Like lugging your carry-ons in to town and to whichever pub/restaurant you find. Are you going to be dressed for the weather London may throw at you? And finally - if you miss your flight they will not put you in the next one. Since it is just a connection you will have no rights if you leave the airport and are late getting back.
janisj is online now  
Mar 13th, 2008, 09:38 PM
  #29  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 557
Again as I said, I wasn't comparing MB to London or even LA to London. I was just wondering if there was some place like that, as in as easy to get to, that we could do during our layover. Many cities have someplace nearby with easy access and was hoping to find that also to be the case in London. However, I already conceded that if its going to eat up 2 hours both ways, and cost $300 then obviously it's not worth it so please don't feel like I'm not appreciative of all the wonderful advice. But as flanneruk mentioned, I will just cross that bridge depending on how things go once we're there. But I won't have any carry-ons unless you count my purse.

Curious, what would one need to be wearing in London, in June, in the evening to be prepared for whatever the weather throws at us?
loves2sing is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 09:48 PM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,188
The part I'm suspicious about is the alleged landing at 3 PM. I'd take that to mean you'd be lucky to get out of Heathrow by 4:30 or 5, although I'm sure other people have different experiences.

Flanneruk's idea of going to Southall sounds as good as any, if you are lucky enough to get an expeditious exit from the airport.
WillTravel is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 10:19 PM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,913
"what would one need to be wearing in London, in June, in the evening to be prepared for whatever the weather throws at us?" That is just it - you cannot have any idea. It could be pouring down, blustery, warm/muggy, clear and beautiful - or downright miserable.

Curious - you do not use a carry on?? And you are relying in BA to get your luggage to Athens on the same day as you?

No joke - a few months ago BA actually sent thousands of pieces of luggage from LHR to Milan to have it sorted and returned to the UK to be reunited w/ the owners.
janisj is online now  
Mar 13th, 2008, 10:19 PM
  #32  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 557
Suspicious? Alleged? Wow, you're good. How'd you find me out? I confess, it's actually a 2:50pm landing.
loves2sing is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 10:31 PM
  #33  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 557
I only carry on if I am going direct. If I have to spend any time in an airport for transfers I usually check because I don't like schleping it around. I don't carry on anything more than my purse that holds my makeup and a few basic essentials in case I'm stuck somewhere.

So does this mean the short shorts, flip flops and halter top are out? :-> I'm sure if the weather is bad my plans (or no plan) can be adjusted.

I'm sure there are lots of horror stories about lost luggage but in all the years I've traveled, its never happened to me. I guess I'm just one of the lucky ones....or blessed.
loves2sing is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 07:35 AM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 923
Loves2sing: I'm laughing a bit because you sound just as head strong as me! Many of us would suggest that you not try to do the dinner thing with only 6 hours - you did ask after all.

I can tell however that you will most likely give it a try - please do come back to this posting and let us know if you did and how you managed. I too hate the long waits and like to take chances, so am very interested in if it will be a satisfying outing for you.

Either way, have fun in Greece - we actually just returned from Athens on Tuesday.
LilyLace is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 08:49 AM
  #35  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 557
Lily, if I DO venture out in shorts and tank top, I will certainly let you know how it went....but only if I'm wearing white athletic shoes

Sorry, just been reading too many posts, lol.
loves2sing is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 09:09 AM
  #36  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 557
Lily - I meant to ask, where did you go in Greece? How long were you there?
loves2sing is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 10:00 AM
  #37  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,188
"Alleged landing" was not meant to indicate that you were not telling the truth. It means that any stated landing time at Heathrow must be taken with huge grains of salt.
WillTravel is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 10:07 AM
  #38  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 557
I know WillTravel, I was just playing on your words.
loves2sing is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 11:06 AM
  #39  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5,562
Why not visit Windsor, of one of the towns along the Thames. It's June, it will be light till late, you can find a nice pub or other place to have dinner outside. Perhaps Marlow, or Bray. It would probably be more relaxed than dashing into London, and you will still get a taste of England, if not London. It's a long time since I was there, but there is the Compleat Angler in Marlow, the French Horn in Sonning. It's probably too early to eat at the Waterside Inn, but I would book an early dinner somewhere along the Thames. If the weather cooperates, that would be very pleasant if you have just flown in from LA.
Tulips is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 11:37 AM
  #40  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 557
Tulips, you give some great suggestions! I will certainly look into those places.
loves2sing is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:18 PM.