Taxi Tours of London? Which one?

Old Mar 29th, 2002, 07:25 AM
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Ann
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Taxi Tours of London? Which one?

We are flying into London in July on an overnight layover between Rome and the US. There are four of us and we are staying near Heathrow because of an early flight out the next morning. We arrive around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. Two of us have never been to London and so I wanted to choose a tour that showed all the regular tourist sights. I have read that Taxi-tours are great especially for a group of four persons. Any specific recommendations? Should we attempt this in the late afternoon or the evening after dark? Any feedback or suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!
 
Old Mar 29th, 2002, 07:27 AM
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Ellen
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IMOH, you'd be better off with one of the tours given on double-decker buses -- you can see much more, and hop on and hop off.
 
Old Mar 29th, 2002, 07:45 AM
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Ann
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Ellen, Most of the double decker bus tours end by 7PM at the latest. I guess we could do something like that until it closed and then do a more private tour for the evening. Has anyone taken a taxi tour in London?
 
Old Mar 29th, 2002, 07:59 AM
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Ellen
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Don't forget, London is so far north that the sun sets after 9 PM in July.

The Bigbus site does indeed say that their last bus is at 7PM, but that sounded to me like the last tour departure, rather than the end of their day. Having taken both taxis and the double-decker buses, I'd opt for the bus, but that's your choice of course. Enjoy!
 
Old Mar 29th, 2002, 08:07 AM
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Ann
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Thanks Ellen, I appreciate the help. The main part of our trip is in Italy so I have not really even thought about our day there except to book our hotel. Now that it is getting closer, I better do my homework! Thanks again!
 
Old Mar 29th, 2002, 08:08 AM
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janis
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In July the last tour buses end around 8:30 PM. You will definitely see more from the top of a double decker bus than from a taxi. remember - in a taxi two of you will be facing backwards in the jump seats and not really able to see much at all.

I would definitely take a tour bus - You will get into central London by about 3PM (or earlier) and have plenty of time to ride and entire loop and then part way around again if you wanted to get off to visit a particular place. I would go to Waterloo or Westminster first and walk to the London Eye and try for tickets that evening. Then catch the tour bus on westminster bridge and start your loop.

If you cannot get EYE tickets - then two other places for great views later in the evening are the Restaurant and bar at the OXO Tower and the cocktail lounge on the top floor of the London Hilton.

Then I would just walk around - Westminster, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, Victoria Embankment, South Bank - all are great places to walk in the evening.
 
Old Mar 29th, 2002, 08:40 AM
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Ann
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Thanks Janis,
I just checked the website for the London Eye and we can book the tickets online in advance. Do we need to do this during the day or evening?
 
Old Mar 29th, 2002, 09:33 AM
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Betty
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Ellen, I thought that was interesting that you said the sun doesn't go down until after 9 pm in July. What about the end of August? Is it the same?
 
Old Mar 29th, 2002, 12:23 PM
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Ellen
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Betty, just as in the US, the longest days of the year are around June 21 and then they get shorter. So sunsets in August are earlier than in July; by late Aug. it's just before 8 PM.

Here's a link that will give you the sunset time for any date for many places. Click on the city and then on the city page you'll see another link for sunset times.

http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/

 
Old Mar 29th, 2002, 02:50 PM
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janis
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Ann - You will love the Eye. If you have a choice, in July I'd go late. Best is either about 3 hours before sunset OR right at sunset. (In the hour or two before sunset the sun is low in the sky and there is a glare so you really can't see towards the west very well)
 
Old Mar 29th, 2002, 05:40 PM
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Ann
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Janis, Thanks for all the advice. Do you prefer one bus tour over another? Also if we have four persons, would it be cheaper and/or quicker to take a cab from the Heathrow Hilton into the city or take the Paddington Express? I think I read it is 12 pounds each. If we were to take the Express then where should we start our tour? Thanks again for the advice and help.
 
Old Mar 29th, 2002, 06:39 PM
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janis
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Ann - Probably the best/easiest way for 4 to get into London is by a car service. There are several good ones that have been recommended on these boards. A driver will cost you between 25 and 30 GBP and will take you to any location in central London. A Black Cab will be around 40 - 45GBP. (I can't make a specific reommendation for a car service since I have a private driver when I need one. But many people on Fodors have good info)

The Paddington Express is good - but it only takes you to Paddingtion and then you'd still have to take a cab or the tube to your ultimate destination.

Both tour companies are good - the Original and the Big Red - and they follow very similar routes. There are stops everywhere - right on Westminster bridge next to the Eye, at Victoria Station, On Parliament street near Big Ben, At Trafalgar Square in front of the Nat'l Gallery, etc, etc.

I would probably have the car service or taxi drop me at Trafalgar Square - It is just about the center of things, the bus stop is easy to find, and if the National Gallery is still open (which it should be) you could have a short time to see the highlights before jumping on the bus.
 
Old Mar 29th, 2002, 06:45 PM
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janis
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We're in luck - on a thread a couple of pages down I found this info about one of the best car services:

Swiss Cottage Cars 011-44-207-431-2700

They charge between 25 and 30 GBP - by far the best, cheapest and easiest. Especially if you want to check in to your hotel first. The driver could pick you up reight at the hotel.
 
Old Mar 30th, 2002, 07:12 AM
  #14  
ttt
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to the top
 
Old Jul 9th, 2002, 10:36 AM
  #15  
Leslie
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ttt
 
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