london quiz

May 6th, 2004, 02:08 AM
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london quiz

Thanks for any insights on these somewhat obscure London questions:

- Rail maps often show my stops exactly on the border of 2 zones; do i interpret that as the further or closer zone? Example: is Cutty Sark a 2 or a 3, and what zone is Dulwich West (or whatever that suburban museum stop is)? Any clarifying web site?

- Guidebook says London Eye is so popular that you buy a ticket for a time slot many hours afterward... is that still the case? I don't want to trudge there unless there is minimal wait at whatever time I spontaneously try to fit it in.

- For the typical early hours arivee at Heathrow, whose hotel doesn't want them checking in for several hours... is there a better solution than taking expensive express train in, dropping bags, and regretting that you'll later have to backtrack to sights out in the Heathrow direction?

Desired would be someplace you could drop off bags and sightsee along the way, preferably Hampton court palace or Kew or... Maybe not worth it to drop bags at airport causing another return.

Another approach is to wait till 09:30 when a zone 6 travelcard is valid, tube downtown, drop bags, tube back out to a zone 6 attraction, and return. Economical, but not convenient; are there any better alternatives for those eager to make good use of precious travel time (naps not an option even if hotel is ready)?

viking is offline  
May 6th, 2004, 03:32 AM
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"Rail maps often show my stops exactly on the border of 2 zones; do i interpret that as the further or closer zone?"

Is this the tube map? I think that it's the closer zone, but I don't know for sure. I know, for example, that Earl's Court is in Zone 1, and that's on the border of Zones 1 and 2 on the tube map. So I can hazard a guess.

I'm sure that you could ask someone at a counter at the Tube. I also seem to remember reading somewhere regarding the convention -- are you sure that the Tube map doesn't explain this?
111op is offline  
May 6th, 2004, 03:35 AM
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If you're worried about what kind of rail pass to buy, as I understand it you would still buy a zone 1-2 card & if your stop is outside the zone, you pay a bit extra on that trip. The only reason to buy a pass for, say 1-3 would be if you were commuting that distance on a daily basis. Hopefully, someone else will confirm that. BTW, if the Cutty Sark is in zone 3 but the previous stop isn't, you could get out & walk the foot tunnel across the Thames.

As to your first day conundrum, you can take the tube into London to avoid the "expensive express train," but you would be fighting rush hour traffic with luggage. You could spend your first night near Hampton Court, so proceed there, drop bags at hotel & spend a relaxing day & night there.
mclaurie is offline  
May 6th, 2004, 03:51 AM
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When a stop looks like it's right on the border between two zones, it's counted as whichever zone is in your favor -- if you were traveling to Cutty Sark from a stop in Zone 3 it would count as Zone 3, but if you're traveling from Zone 1 or 2, then Cutty Sark and all the other Greenwich stops all count as Zone 2.

If you buy a tube/bus pass and then decide to travel to a farther zone, you can purchase an "extension" for your pass, but you must buy it at your originating station, not at your destination -- there's a steep fine (£10 IIRC) for arriving at a station that you're not ticketed for.

Waits for the Eye are substantially less than they once were, but nobody can guarantee that you'll walk right on. Depends on so many things, especially the weather.

What sites are you planning to visit that are "out in the Heathrow direction"?
Anonymous is offline  
May 6th, 2004, 03:56 AM
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Your comment on "wait till 09:30 when a zone 6 travelcard is valid," makes no sense, since you can buy single-ride or all-day travelcards at any time, for any zones. You might be thinking of the cheaper off-peak tickets, which are available after 9:30 AM on weekdays.
Anonymous is offline  
May 6th, 2004, 04:08 AM
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It seems to me that your point about sights "between" Heathrow and Central London is about as broad as it's long. As has been said, there aren't that many and they aren't really in the direction of Heathrow in terms of public transport. You wouldn't gain anything by trying to squeeze them in as part of your initial arrival - quite the contrary, I'd have thought. Why leave luggage at the airport, stagger round Windsor or Kew in a jet-lagged state, go back to the airport and only then into central London? I'd far rather get into my destination and use any pre-check-in hours to get my bearings and my second wind over a cup of coffee and a cake somewhere.

The point about zones and tickets has been answered, but for the sake of completeness - and you'll lots of other useful information there - the website you need is
PatrickLondon is online now  
May 6th, 2004, 04:43 AM
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It helps to remember that the London tube map, while a wonder of graphic design, is not drawn to scale -- the distances in the outer zones are often quite long, which can make places in the outer zones look much closer together than they actually are. The tube site given above includes a very helpful journey planner.
Anonymous is offline  
May 6th, 2004, 05:20 AM
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I think you've got most answers, but on the question of the London Eye...

You don't really need to buy an advance ticket if you don't want to, UNLESS you plan on going on a weekend, when you've got Londoners dragging around with weekend guests on top of other tourists. This is particularly true if the weather is good. Having said that, even on a weekend as long as you go towards the end of the day you should get on with minimal waiting time (1/2 hour max).
Kate is offline  
May 6th, 2004, 11:44 PM
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FYI, NORTH Dulwich is easier for the Dulwich Pictuer Gallery, but WEST Dulwich will do if it is easier for you. (Trains to WEST D go from Victoria, while trains to NORTH D go from London Bridge.) I think WEST is in Zone 3 and NORTH in Zone 2.
McLaurie has it right. Only buy a long-term all-zone pass if you are commuting. For someone staying in Zone 1 (ie central London), a Zone 1 card will be good. You can then just add on payment if you go outside. Also and Travelcard is good for ANY bus journey in ANY zone (apart from Airport services such as teh Airbus). If you are gonig for at least 4 days, a 1 week Zone 1 card (no photocard needed) is good, as you will get your money's worth. It is valid from before 9 30. There are family options too.
Nigello is offline  
May 7th, 2004, 09:25 AM
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Just arrived home last night from a 3 week trip to Europe - London being the last stop. We arrived on Sunday morning from Paris (5/02) - which was part of a holiday weekend.

The weather was glorious, and we decided to do the London Eye because of that very reason. Glad we decided to, because over the next few days the weather was very unstable. We got in a long line to buy tickets (wait of about 1/2 hour) but were able to get a time slot just an hour later - at 1:30 p.m. They asked us to get in line at 1:00, and it took almost exactly 30 minutes until we were able to board.

I would recommend you waiting to see how the weather is before you buy your tickets - except for the first day, the weather was quite crazy. We were there during what I assume was a very busy weekend - it wasn't too bad.
chepar is offline  
May 7th, 2004, 12:42 PM
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First, the station that looks like it's on the border of two zones IS in BOTH zones. There are a few of these in London.

Second, there are no sights out by Heathrow unless you're going all the way to East London and consider that going a few stops westward on the tube means going back toward Heathrow.

London is the largest western or central European capital city (only Istanbul and Moscow have more people). Airports are NOT centrally located in a city of that size.
BigRuss is offline  
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