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Results of first London Trip

Old Mar 30th, 2002, 05:17 AM
  #1  
Dave
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Results of first London Trip

Just back & I must tell you we had a great time. Unfortunately, by our second day we realized a week just wasn't enough time. Oh well, just have to go back...

I won't bore you with what we did but did want to share some observations with others who may be going to London for their first time...

ORIENTATION: By all means do a bus tour as soon as you can. It will be very helpful in orienting yourself to the city. Secondly, it helps in deciding how to organize the rest of your trip. Personally, I didn't see much difference between the to major bus tours.

PUBS: Remember "Bitters" is British for beer. So when you order a pint, youll need to pick a brand, not just a pint of bitters. All of the bartenders were very helpful in suggesting a brand based on our tastes. In fact, more than one pub gave me a sample to try before getting a pint. We also learned (the hardway) that just because it comes out of a tap doesn't mean it's beer. Could be cider, which also popular but not when you're expecting a beer.

WATER: If you order water in a restaurant it will probably be bottled water and will be added to your bill. Order 'tap water' if all you want is "regular" water.

TUBES: Fabulous way to get around. Can be a little intimidating at first but once you get the knack it's great.

LONDON PASS: I know lots of people will demean the London Pass, but it was great for us. Order it through your travel agent, not on line as you'll have more choices. If you order it on line you will wind up paying for a 6 zone travel pass when a 1 & 2 zone will be sufficient and it's a set package.

MAPS: We found it very helpful to have a laminated, foldable street map to carry with us. Streetwise London was the one we used. It includes the major sights AND tube stations.

SERVICE CHARGES: A lot of restaurants are including a "Service Charge" which equates to a tip. It's generally somewhere on the menu but check your receipt as well. Nothing wrong with a tip but nobody wants to get double-dipped.

We're definitely going back to London, it is a great city with something for everybody and I can see why so many people go again and again. Just thought I'd post this for other first timers. I don't claim to be an experts but thought other first timers might find our experiences helpful.

AND...thanks to everyone who helped us plan our trip.
 
Old Mar 30th, 2002, 05:29 AM
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dean
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Thanks for report, Dave. By the way, where did you stay? Any comments on the hotel?
 
Old Mar 30th, 2002, 05:30 AM
  #3  
Ellen
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Dave, thanks for those helpful insights!

Just one additional tip: You can also buy the LondonPass after you arrive in London, but without the transport option. Then you can just buy the same travel cards that Londoners buy.

David, I'm curious how much you paid for the LondonPass visitors travelcard for zones 1 and 2, thru your travel agent. That tidbit might help people decide what to buy. The 6-day LondonPass without transport is £69 and a regular 7-day travelcard for zones 1 and 2 is £19.30.
 
Old Mar 30th, 2002, 06:12 AM
  #4  
Victoria
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Thanks Dave for the report. We are also firsttimers going in Sept. So I am reading everything I can. Great report.
Victoria
 
Old Mar 31st, 2002, 08:49 AM
  #5  
Dave
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LondonPass for 7 days, Travel Pass for 7 days (Zones 1&2), and an add on for Red Rover Boats, one day, unlimited off & on....total was $117.00. Depending on exchange rate it could be about the same.

We stayed at the Ambassador Bloomsbury. It was only OK...

Minus: small rooms (old joke about going to the hallway just to change one's mind), central heat/air with no individual room temperature control, rooms on the front of building are loud because of traffic and curtains don't darken the room much for sleeping.

Plus: Continental breakfast included. Close to Euston Station, Euston Street underground station & Russell Square.

I'm sure there are better choices but it was part of an airfare/hotel package. Really can't complain at @$600 for air, ground transport to/from Gatwick & six nights lodging.

BTW: Churchill's War Rooms have re-opened and are well worth visiting.

 
Old Mar 31st, 2002, 10:37 AM
  #6  
Ben Haines
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For Dave: May I just say that I thought these were useful and valid points, well selected amongst so much that is to be said. I hope you enjoy your second trip here as much as your first.

Ben Haines, London
 
Old Mar 31st, 2002, 11:34 AM
  #7  
bit
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very nice to read, one tiny point - beer is "bitter", not "bitters" - as in "a pint of bitter please"; and you really can just ask for a beer - you'll get a "lager" beer like Budweiser. "Bitter" will get you a pint of a dark beer.
 
Old Mar 31st, 2002, 12:42 PM
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Ben Haines
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Dave is clearly a man of discrimination, and would not be seen dead drinking lager in England.

Ben Haines
 
Old Mar 31st, 2002, 03:28 PM
  #9  
janis
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That is a mistake many (most?) American make. It is an easy error - Bitters are like Agnostura Bitters, Bitter is GREAT (usually) beer. But most barmen know crazy Americans say one thing and mean the other.
 

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