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Suggested travel from Gatwick

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Nov 21st, 2011, 05:45 PM
  #1
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Suggested travel from Gatwick

Wondering what the best suggested means of travel would be for my family of 4 from Gatwick to our hotel (Premier Inn-London County Hall).
Arriving @ 14:00 & will have 2 pieces of luggage each.
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Nov 21st, 2011, 09:38 PM
  #2
 
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Take the train to London Bridge and then a cab to the hotel. Or - if you can manage the bags, train to London Bridge, tube 2 stops to Waterloo and a short walk to the hotel.

(Why 8 pieces of luggage?)
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Nov 21st, 2011, 09:49 PM
  #3
 
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This link shows your options. I made the same trip, from Gatwick to your same hotel, a few years ago, and took a Southern Train, changed at Clapham Junction, to Waterloo. The walk from Waterloo to the hotel is a snap, a couple of blocks. If you can see the Eye, you can find your hotel.

http://www.gatwickairport.com/transport/to-london/
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Nov 21st, 2011, 11:40 PM
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I'm assuming the OP means one "proper" suitcase and one day-bag/carry-on per person. If it weren't for that, I would suggest going through to the Tooley St side of London Bridge mainline station and taking bus RV1 all the way to County Hall. However, depending on the time of day, and how many other people are waiting with luggage, baby buggies, etc., that may just be too much for the bus. But you could go to the bus-stop and play it by ear, getting a taxi if necessary - there will probably be plenty passing that way.
http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/gettingaro...ridge-2163.pdf
http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/gettingaro...yhall-2060.pdf

With the tube, I'd suggest taking it not to Waterloo but to Westminster and walking back across Westminster Bridge to County Hall. At Waterloo, there's a fair amount of walking from one side of the station to the other, underground (look for the exits to the South Bank/York Road, then turn right on the street and look for the London Eye).

For the sake of completeness, it is possible (if your London Bridge train is going through to Luton and Bedford) to change (usually just across the same platform) to a train stopping at Waterloo East. But that involves a long walk down to and across Waterloo mainline station and over the footbridge to the South Bank/York Road (and there are unavoidable stairs, as there are on all these options, other than getting a taxi from outside London Bridge in the main bus station).
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 05:59 AM
  #5
 
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Since you are taking the train from Gatwick, you will qualify to use the 2-for-1 vouchers to London attractions as well as the Group Save train fares on Southern Railways. (You can buy Southern tickets at Gatwick.)

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For information on 2-for-1 vouchers, see my post:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...pon-thread.cfm

...but please don't ask questions on that thread that are specific to your circumstances. Do that here. That thread is meant to be a general information thread. Thanks for your cooperation.

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For information on Group Save, go to the Southern Railway site:

http://www.southernrailway.com/offers/groupsave/

Up to four children (aged 5 – 15 years old) may travel Off-Peak anywhere on the Southern network for only £1 each when accompanied by an adult with any valid ticket (including season tickets).

----------

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Nov 22nd, 2011, 11:31 AM
  #6
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Sounds like the Southern train is the way to go, and I'll be able to take advantage of the GroupSave & 2 for 1 deals.

We'll be spending 3 days and plan on staying in central London for all of it. Expect to ride the tube 1-2 per day.
Should I purchase some sort of TravelCard for riding the tube?
Our kids are 14 & 11.
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 02:16 PM
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1-day TravelCard (zones 2-1) is 6.60 GBP off-peak (after 9:30 and weekends)...8.00 GBP if you plan to ride before 9:30 weekdays.

You do your own math...if your VERY sure you're only going to ride 1-2 times/day, don't get the cards.

Single tickets cost 4 GBP if you pay in cash.

Another option is get an Oyster Card (electronic card) and load some money onto it. The single ride is then only 1.90 with an automatic daily cap at the 6.60 GBP and 8.00 GBP levels depending on when you take your rides.

I can't remember whether there is an initial charge to get the Oyster Card.

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Nov 22nd, 2011, 03:07 PM
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Will the Oyster card let us take advantage of the 2 for 1 deals?
We're flying out of Heathrow, so we won't have a round trip train ticket.
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 03:32 PM
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"Will the Oyster card let us take advantage of the 2 for 1 deals?"

NO, you have to buy paper travelcards from a RAIL station NOT an underground station.
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 04:21 PM
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Hooameye is correct...the Oyster Card will NOT qualify you for the 2-for-1 deals, but your round-trip RAIL ticket between Gatwick and the city qualifies you.

Be sure to buy your trail ticket with the return date set -- you're good to go with the vouchers on all the in-between dates.

If you do not use rail to/from the airport, then you'll have to buy paper TravelCards at a rail station, since regular tube tickets and Oyster Cards don't qualify -- see my post cited above for specifics.

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Nov 23rd, 2011, 06:30 AM
  #11
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So do you suggest I purchase a GroupSave ticket for the Southern train AND a TravelCard that will cover 3 days of tube riding, for each member of my family?

Or will the TravelCard cover the Southern train as well?
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Nov 23rd, 2011, 07:09 AM
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2 for 1 works only during the validity of the railway ticket. If you're buying a single ticket into London, you're eligible for 2 for 1 only that day.

Travelcards get pricier the further from the centre you get, and are valid only as far out as East Croydon. So though in theory you can get a group ticket to East Croydon, then a Z1-6 Travelcard, you're buying far more bus/tube/suburban train travel than you need.

Get the best deal you can on the train into London. Then buy the Travelcard that best meets your needs (probably just Z1-2) once you're in town. Seek advice from the vendor about your ticket for the day you return: you may not need the Travelcard that day if your only journey will be from your hotel to Heathrow. In practice, it's quite possible that a prebooked car for 4 of you might be cheaper than four separate tube tickets.
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Nov 23rd, 2011, 11:57 AM
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To follow up on flanneruk...

From LGW, you'll need a train ticket -- not a TravelCard. The Group Save applies to the train tickets (not tube/bus). You buy those train tickets in Gatwick. AND...(and I have assumed that you are buying round-trip tickets between the city and Gatwick)...these train tickets allow you to use the 2-for-1 vouchers from the day you arrive to the day you return to Gatwick.

Re: in-city transport. For that you MAY want TravelCards (as I said earlier, you have to do your own math)...but there is no 3-day card...only 1-day cards and 7-day cards. You'll need three 1-day cards. For the main London sights, a zone 1-2 card will do just fine.

My personal feeling is that TravelCards are better than pay-as-you-go for most tourists, since you'll probably find yourself riding the tube and bus more than you might originally estimate...and there is a convenience factor, too.

However, if you load a bunch of money onto an Oyster Card on day one, it's even more convenient, since (assuming you stay in zones 1-2) they don't deduct more than the day-card amount regardless of how often you ride.

Example: You take four tube rides off-peak (1.90 each), but they still only deduct 6.60 (the off-peak TravelCard rate) from your Oyster.

As I said, it's a matter of taste and math. We like the TravelCards (loaded onto our Oysters), since we hardly ever go a full day with less than 4 rides -- we appreciate the riding especially at the end of the day and in the evening when we are pretty tired after a day of sightseeing.

An important point is: if you do NOT use an Oyster Card, individual tube tickets cost 4.00 (Am I correct on this, flanneruk? I've never done it.) - VERY expensive. So even at only 2 rides a day, the TravelCards are a better deal.

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Nov 23rd, 2011, 12:27 PM
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To follow up on flanneruk:

You can't use a TravelCard from Gatwick - it's too far out. Buy your Group Save train tickets (Southern) at the airport. I'm assuming it's round-trip -- so you can then use the 2-for-1 vouchers for the duration of your trip.

Then decide your best deal in the city. A couple of things to consider:

(a) If you DON'T use an Oyster Card, I believe tube rides are 4.00 - very expensive. (Am I right, flanneruk? I've never done it.) At that rate, even 2 rides a day make the 1-day TravelCard a good deal.

(b) There is no 3-day TravelCard. You'll need three 1-day cards.

(c) Zones 1-2 pretty-much cover all the sights of the city...but you need to figure that out yourself, since we don't know what you are interested in.

(d) If you load an Oyster card with money, you still will never pay more than the 1-day TravelCard rate, so that is relatively risk-free...load the amount of cash needed for three 1-day cards. It's a little more convenient than buying three 1-day paper cards.

(e) If you used your Oyster Card in the pay-as-you-go mode, individual tube trips are only 1.90, capping each day at the daily rate (either 8.00 or 6.60 depending on whether you travel before 9:30 a.m. on a weekday)

(f) Unless you absolutely must, I would never travel weekdays before 9:30 a.m. -- the rush-hour crowds can be horrendous. I've actually seen them temporarily shut the entry stairs (with horns blaring) and not let people enter the tube area until the crowds thin out...this was at Victoria Station, a major terminus for incoming rush-hour trains from the suburbs.

Hope I covered most of the main points.

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Nov 23rd, 2011, 12:40 PM
  #15
 
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Oops...just re-read your follow-up post - you're not buying a RT ticket.

OK...then be sure to buy PAPER TravelCards at the TRAIN TICKET window. You can do this when you buy your regular train tickets. These will qualify you for the 2-for-1 deal as well get you on the tube and bus. You'll recognize them, because they'll have the red British Rail logo on them.

TravelCards bought from Transport for London (at tube stations, for instance) will not have that logo on them and will NOT qualify you for the 2-for-1 deals. This is a very important distinction.

You'll still need separate train tickets from Gatwick to the city. I think GroupSave works with one-way tickets, too.

I think you can't buy paper TravelCards in advance - only on the day of use or, maybe the day before as well...but your hotel is near Waterloo Station, apparently.

TO SUMMARIZE:

Two GroupSave tickets (4 people) = ~25-35 GBP depending on time and where in the city you end up.

12 Paper 1-day TravelCards zones 1-2 bought at a TRAIN station = ~80 GBP

I think this may be your best bet.

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