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traveling to London for the first time March 3 till the 10th. Any tips

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Feb 7th, 2012, 11:08 AM
  #1
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traveling to London for the first time March 3 till the 10th. Any tips

I will be traveling to London for the first time March 3 till the 10th. Any tips besides the response to my questions below would be much appreciated.

1. From my review of other comments, the plastic London Pass & Travel card are a waste of money since it is hard to see all the main sights & no need for unlimited access zone 1 to 6. Should we get an Oyster card to travel from Heathrow to our hotel downtown. Just get a paper travel pass that allows unlimited transportation in Zones 1 & 2. Do you have to print off 2 for 1 vouchers or simple place to get vouchers already printed?

2. Can we just buy one Oyster card to use for 2 people at the same time (swipe twice)? Just want to save some money from paying initial start fee.

2. What is the simplest way to travel to Windsor & anything else in the area to make it worth heading out of town?

3. We will be staying near Science Museum? Any tips for nightlife or places to eat?

4. Current Cell service provider has way high fees for using International. Any suggestions for simple prepay phone? We will also be heading to Ireland the following week so would like to be able to use it throughout Ireland as well.

Thanks!

Kurt-Iowa
Iowa_Traveler2012 is offline  
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Feb 8th, 2012, 07:33 AM
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I have answered your post on the Irish topics on another forum.

For the cellphone if you get a Tesco mobile sim for an unlocked phone or just buy a phone from one of their Supermarkets then spend £1.99 on the Ireland Bundle. This gives calls on the Island of Ireland at the UK rate and lets you receive calls without a roaming charge. Link on my Frommers reply

I would also post your questions on Trip Advisor forums where you will probably get more response.

http://www.tripadvisor.ie/ShowForum-...8-Ireland.html
http://www.tripadvisor.ie/ShowForum-...d_Kingdom.html
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Feb 8th, 2012, 07:57 AM
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"Can we just buy one Oyster card to use for 2 people at the same time (swipe twice)? Just want to save some money from paying initial start fee."

No, and you wouldn't save anything if you could. There's no "start fee" if you buy the Oyster here: just a refundable deposit. Don't even think of swiping twice: the system will assume the first swiper's made the longest possible journey, debit you accordingly (and therefore increase the daily cap to a Z1-6 rate, rather than a Z1-2 one), charge the second swiper the correct fare and almost certainly refuse to let the second swiper out at journey's end.
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Feb 8th, 2012, 07:58 AM
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Just a couple of very quick comments right now:

2. Each of you need your own Oyster or paper travelcard.

second 2. Train from Paddington or Waterloo station.

3. You will be in South Kensington - there are hundreds of restaurants w/i walking distance or a few tube stops. What sort of nightlife - clubs? concerts? pubs? theatre?
janisj is offline  
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Feb 8th, 2012, 08:00 AM
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1. Print off the vouchers yourself and take them with you. Why pay for internet access elsewhere? You can get Oyster cards for the Heathrow to South Kens trip. When you get to your hotel and dump your stuff, you'll need to go to Victoria to get the Travelcards. You cannot buy them at Heathrow and cannot buy them at Tube stations.

2a. No. And there is no real charge, you get the deposit back when you turn in your card at the end of your trip.

2b. Depends on where you want to go. Windsor is accessible by train from Waterloo or Paddington (Waterloo is direct, Paddington with a connection). Hampton Court Palace is accessible by train from Waterloo. Where else do you want to go?

3. Go to Londontown.com or chowhound or TimeOut or yelp. Restaurants = Fish in a barrel in South Kens. Better nightlife closer to the West End and Leicester Square.

4. Do you have an unlocked phone? If so, buy a sim card. If not, buy a cheapo unlocked phone and get a sim card in the UK or Ireland.

What tips are you looking for? London is the largest city in Western Europe and twice the size of Paris. Chances are, there are lots of tips available.
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Feb 8th, 2012, 09:00 AM
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I just got back from London spending 11 days there. My husband was working in south London and I was tourist for the duration. I traveled to Hampton Court and Windsor Palace on my own. I took a tour to Salisbuty and Stonehenge but kicked myself afterwards because these were attractions that I could have visited on my own by train. I would have loved to have spent a lot more time than the organized tour allowed.

I may be the only one who would suggest that the London Pass was a good deal, but when I added up all the museums and attractions that I went to I would have spent almost 210£ all covered with the 6 day pass of £87, so for me it was a good deal. I did not include the travelcard since I purchased that separately.

I had to have a travelcard zones 1-6 because initially we were staying in Croydon in zone 5, so my travelcard included my trips back and forth to Heathrow, to Hampton Court, and Windsor Castle. My travel cost for 11 days was 88£. I purchased my travelcard which was put on an Oyster Pass at Heathrow, the deposit for the Oyster card was only 3£ and is refundable with any monies left on the pass if you return it to the booth at Heathrow (we forgot).

Hampton Court is a very easy journey to take on your own, Just grab the train from Waterloo, Hampton Court is a very short walk just over a small bridge from the train Station. This time of year it is not crowded at all, I pretty much had the place to myself.

Windsor was just as easy, just make sure that there is not an event going on at Windsor because if there is only the gardens will be open to the public.

Salisbury for the Cathedral and the Magna Carte is a train ride away, there you can catch a local bus to Stonehenge just a short distance away, so both places would be a great all day adventure.

If you read the two for one offers you will find that they require a train ticket not a travelcard or Oyster card, even though the offer says a travelcard is acceptable. Unless the travelcard is purchased at the train booth and has a train ticket number on it the attraction will not accept it. By the way both people have to show train tickets in order to qualify as well. I’m not sure you can get a train ticket Travelcard for zones 1-2 though.

If you have an unlocked phone you can get a sim card free for buying 10£ of minutes from Lebara, there was a kiosk of Lebara sim cards at Victoria Station. We had two unlocked phones and got a sim card for each for 20£ total and since calls to each other were free we came home with 9£ or so on each. Here is there web site: http://www.lebara.co.uk/ We have great unlocked phones that were inexpensive on ebay that we use for our international travel, changing the sim card to the cheapest option available.

Have a great time London is a wonderful city.
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Feb 8th, 2012, 09:16 AM
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" I’m not sure you can get a train ticket Travelcard for zones 1-2 though. "

Yes you can.

Did you really get £210 worth? That would be 10 to 15 major sites in 6 days and there are so many free ones (British Museum, V&A, Imperial War, National Gallery, the Tate's, Museum of London, etc, etc).
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Feb 8th, 2012, 09:43 AM
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I saved the free museums for the days after the London Pass expired. I was on my own so I just left the hotel very early in the morning I visited sites and museums and all day and walked everywhere. I was easily able to combine visits to attractions that were close together and see a lot before I returned to my hotel around 6PM.
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Feb 8th, 2012, 10:17 AM
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"Unless the travelcard is purchased at the train booth and has a train ticket number on it the attraction will not accept it"

Is not true. All you need is a Travelcard bought at a railway station (of which there are about a hundred in London) and showing the National Rail logo.

"For the cellphone if you get a Tesco mobile sim for an unlocked phone or just buy a phone from one of their Supermarkets"

Most Tesco stores in London don't sell phones, though Tony's general strategy of buying a cheap phone (typically £20 or so with about £5 already prepaid) and buying an Irish add-on is broadly right. Go into any phone shop (just about every fifth shop along any street), ask for their cheapest PAYG phone and interrogate them about a week's cover in Ireland (UK mobiles will work without Ireland cover in Northern Ireland and within a few miles of the intra-Ireland border, but not elsewhere.

You can't necessarily guarantee they all (most phone shops are single-operator, but Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U sell phones with a range of operators) offer cheap Ireland cover, or that every salesperson knows about it. But there are so many others a few yards down the street, you're bound to find the right deal relatively quickly.
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Feb 9th, 2012, 10:28 AM
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Only 02 offer the bolt on for Ireland. Tesco UK operate on the 02 network at far lower cost and use the same bolt on package. 3 do an offer which covers Ireland for contract but not pay as you go customers.

Tesco Ireland use 02 Ireland (different franchise than 02 UK) for 2G service and Hutchinson (3 Ireland) for their 3G service giving international calls from €0.01.

Tesco UK support Blackberry whilst Tesco Ireland do not.

I do not work for or have any connection with Tesco other than using their services for my UK and my Ireland phone. With connections both side the Irish Sea for years I have narrowed down the cheapest way round the problem of different operators.

Carphone Warehouse, Phones4U and the like will push whichever operator is giving the best commission on the day.
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