My favourite places in London

Old Dec 30th, 2013, 04:14 AM
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Kovsie - In two weeks my hubby and I (first timers) will visit London (without our two toddler boys) in celebration of our 10th wedding anniversary. I already was excited to be going to London, but now I'm completely over-the-moon with enthusiasm thanks to your wonderful report! Thank you SO much for sharing!
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Old Jan 7th, 2014, 07:28 PM
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ChicagoDallasGirl - its great that you are enjoying it - getting ready is so much part of the whole experience. To get even more wonderful ideas, you can try this tread, which is an example of the generosity of Fodorites just sharing their own favourite places:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-in-london.cfm
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Old Jan 7th, 2014, 10:17 PM
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Thank you Kovsie
I've just jotted down bits from your report
My 20 yr old daughter and I are leaving on 19 jan for our first ever European winter ... Leaving an Aussie summer for 42 days to travel in England ..mostly London and a bit in York but we will try hard to get out to Windsor so thanks for those travel details
We will be staying Leicester sq and are interested in the half ticks offers. ..will be keeping an eye out São thanks for the link to the shows
Still not sure how to get to Leicester sq...I have taken the tube to Piccadilly before from heathrow..quite a few steps and we are hauling 20 kg luggage plus big shoulder carrying on bags too lol
Tempted to book a car but it seems expensive and I'd rather not have to worry bout meeting someone or run late or whatever with planes and queues
Arriving on a Monday morning there will be loads of people on the tube ..not greaT with luggage..last time I arrived on a Saturday afternoon and I don't recall any difficulties except for the stairs out of Piccadilly station

Thanks for your report
Excellent stuff
Cheers
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Old Jan 8th, 2014, 01:24 AM
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lanejohann,

When you get on the tube at Heathrow you should have no trouble finding seats. Leister Sq is just one stop after Picadilly Circus, no changes. You will have to negotiate long escalators at the station and possibly stairs to street level, can't remember. Then there's the walk to your hotel.

Lots of people recommend justairports car service.
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Old Jan 8th, 2014, 02:03 AM
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Thanks cath
And I don't want to hijack this thread but yes I have been debating whether to go by tube or get a driver and I've just emailed just airports (who incidentally do private tours but expensive of course).
I rang them earlier and spoke to them..they're open round the clock it seems.. And she gave me a quote of 43 pounds plus 3-5 pounds for the car park depending on whether he has to wait half or full hour. They don't have a waiting fee as such and they just check on arrival times before they come
Meeting point is at the mark and Spencer's store...Man holding up a board with your name on it..just like in the movies!
I'm hoping the 43pounds is for both of us ..not each cos otherwise we will be hauling bags up the stairs in Leicester sq!
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Old Jan 8th, 2014, 02:12 AM
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No .....43 pounds is for the car...you just pay the driver ...25% more if paying with credit card by the way so I'm glad I've got my pounds already
Meeting is arranged 90 mins after landing
If there's a problem you can go to the info desk at the airport and they will allow you to call for free

Comforting...fingers crossed all goes smoothly
It is expensive compared to the tube but I'll treat like a bit of a tour.. At least we will be seeing something of London and maybe get some tips from a local!
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Old Jan 8th, 2014, 04:48 AM
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25% surcharge for using a credit card is outrageous. What a rip off! Kovsie, I must admit that I was the one who hit back at Povlov after he rubbished my suggestion about walking up Regent Street. This was something I did not want you to miss! Many thanks for trip report which I very much enjoyed reading.
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Old Jan 8th, 2014, 05:08 AM
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I booked a ride for my daughter from LHR using Hotel by Bus-- hotelbybus.com -- as recommended above by latedaytraveler. £27 for her two suitcases and large purse, and would have been £22 for total of two luggage pieces. She's going to Regent's College off the Inner CIrcle, and the pulldown menu included her dorm, so it will be to her door.

I considered Just Airports and having some of her fellow students go together, but it got too complicated. Possible but no fun to navigate the tube with all that baggage, and since she'll be in London through spring she won't be packing light.
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Old Jan 8th, 2014, 10:58 AM
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This is the best trip report I've read in ages--maybe the best one ever! Thanks for taking the time and effort to report, kovsie.
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 01:04 PM
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kovsie----I can't tell you how many times in the past few days something you posted has come into my mind
<<<<A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars, but where the rich use public transport>>>>

Thanks for bringing that statement to the forefront.
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 07:12 PM
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Getting from the airport to your bed in London: I travel on a fairly strict budget. But after a few mishaps I have decided that I will spend money on the trip between airport and hotel - it is one of my few extravagances, and for me it is money well spent. In my mind I add it to the airfare, as part of getting from points A to B.
Taking the train is the easy part. Getting your lugguge up and down stairs is no fun (and you are an open target for lurking pickpockets and sundry crooks). Finding the correct address while dragging my worldly goods over crowded sidewalks turns me into a self-pitying martyr. I know there are hardy souls who do this regularly. I would rather save money another way. The thing is - by the time you eventually reach your lodgings, you are tired from the effort, and your feet already hurt.
I agree with Latedaytraveler above - if you are a solo traveller, the Hotel by Bus option is the best. But when you pay for more than one person, a car makes more sense.
The car companies do track the flights and they know when a plane lands. The driver meets you at an agreed time after landing. Our problem - described in one of the first posts above - occurred because the plane had to wait to park for 40 minutes after landing. I had to pay £10 extra for waiting time. But it was still really OK - The driver was waiting with my name on a board - minor thrill .
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Old Jan 10th, 2014, 06:15 AM
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On 16 November I said 'there will be a next time' (for going to London), and VirginiaC still wrote how important this is when you feel you have not seen even a little bit of what London has to offer.
Well, miracle of miracles, my 'next time' is happening sooner than I thought. In March I will be going to Oxford for a week, and I may also try to spend one precious night in London.

Fanshawe and TPAYT and everybody else: Thanks so much for your kind comments!

I will start a new thread about Oxford soon.
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Old Jan 10th, 2014, 06:37 AM
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Kovsie,

I'm very happy to hear that you'll be returning to England. My excitement is two-pronged: firstly because I know from your foregoing experiences that you are a great traveller and visitor, and secondly, it means there'll be another interesting and well scribed report to look forward to.
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Old Jan 10th, 2014, 07:11 AM
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Hi kovsie, I had to stop at Day 4 so will return to finish this wonderful report. It's so much fun to add in your DD's point of view as well. Can't wait to finish!

I do believe the story about the American buying the London Bridge is true. In Arizona though. Rather amazing, eh? Sorry if someone already addressed this.
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Old Jan 10th, 2014, 07:48 AM
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Hi Mathieu! Yes, I feel so privileged to return to England, and am looking forward to briefly visiting the haunts of CS Lewis and Tolkien and many others. It will be mostly work though.

TDudette: you will see the links from Patrick and others about London bridge - the story is actually true. Someday somebody should make a movie about this!
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Old Jan 10th, 2014, 12:47 PM
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I'm so glad to have found your report, kovsie! Your writing style invites one along. Saw the parts about the bridge-buying idiot! Amazing.

I too was impressed with the ease of your traveling around. We visited Windsor as part of a tour not too long after the fire some years ago. Townsfolk help removed everything if I recall correctly.

LOL at your “reee-ally slowly and veeeery carefully” returning of the F&M glass! On my first (of 2) trips in the 1960s my goal was to buy wool on Bond Street and some Liberty fabric. Couldn’t afford the Liberty cotton after I purchased the wool!

How lovely to be “carded” when you bought your bottle of wine. What is the age limit in the UK? Being on a tour was helpful with the Changing of the Guard. Our guide got us to the right spots at all times.

I'll be going single in April and staying on the Strand. Hope to take advantage of the same day tickets. Great tip.

Thanks again kovsie--can't wait to go to Oxford "with" you!
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Old Jan 10th, 2014, 01:21 PM
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I remember the story of Victoria and Albert, and DD asks: "Why did he die?" The driver's answer: "I don't know - he just went off and died" In the moment it was really really funny.>>

i just found your TR and found it fascinating - thanks, kovsie.

BTW - to answer your question, Prince Albert died of cholera.
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Old Jan 10th, 2014, 07:23 PM
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TDudette: I do not know what the age limit for alcohol is in the UK, but it is definitely not 50-something!
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Old Jan 11th, 2014, 04:57 AM
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Kovsie, really enjoying your report. Love London!


Stokebailey, so glad that taking HOTEL BY BUS from Heathrow worked out for you. I have found it a reliable option.
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Old Jan 11th, 2014, 06:15 AM
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>>BTW - to answer your question, Prince Albert died of cholera.<<

It's been blamed on bad drains in one or other of the palaces. Victoria blamed her eldest son's misbehaviour and the downpour that drenched him and his father during the consequent long soul-searching lecture on a walk in the grounds. But I saw some more recent historian saying Albert might have had undiagnosed Bright's disease (kidney failure) for quite some time.

Pardon my pedantry.
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