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Would LOVE some help planning our first Europe trip

Would LOVE some help planning our first Europe trip

Feb 24th, 2007, 05:59 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3
Would LOVE some help planning our first Europe trip

Hi! My name is Cheryl and I am trying to plan our trip to London & around London for 8 days in March. We would love to see Stonehedge and dine at the Fat Duck just to name a few things we are interested in.
I have no idea where to stay and also how to get around. We both love to walk so we're good there, but what about getting to places that are not walking distance.
Also, we are on a budget. We are both Chefs living on Dishwasher's wages. I would so appreciate any sort of input~
insayshbl is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 03:42 AM
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Easy enough. When in London you'll take the Tube to get around the city. As for Stonehenge, I would look for a tour that leaves from the city. Although it's nice to say you've been to Stonehenge, IMO while it is an unbelievable site to contemplate, you aren't allowed to get that close to it and you may be better off spending your time and money elsewhere.
Pugsly is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 04:05 AM
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Get yourself a Streetwise London map (sold in Barnes & Nobles, Borders, etc...). This map has a London Tube map on the back and a very detailed London Streets on the front. Excellent resource. The London tube is incredibly easy to handle and the way to go for London sightseeing. Have fun! I hope you are not going to London for the food!

You mentioned budget; the dollar is doing horribly, so that is a relative term. I stayed at the Victoria Inn on Belgrave neighborhood, about 10-15 minutes walk to Victoria Station and one mile from Buckinghman Palace. We walked to it in February; easy walk. The inn was (Feb 2002) $90/double included continental breakfast. It was very clean, comfortable, good heating, nice staff, great neighborhood, it appeared to be popular with families.

Cheryl, this site is an amazing resource for what you are trying to do. Set aside some hours for Copy & Paste and you will be able to compile incredible information, most of which you will not find in guidebooks. Have a great time!!
Viajero2 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 04:41 AM
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For getting round in London, spend some time exploring www.tfl.gov.uk.

For getting out of London, see www.nationalrail.co.uk or www.thetrainline.com for trains, and www.nationalexpress.com for buses.
PatrickLondon is online now  
Feb 25th, 2007, 04:53 AM
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Hi I,

www.viamichelin.com will give you a very good map of the UK.

ira is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 05:08 AM
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Cheryl, would you consider renting a car and driving yourself for a few days, then spending the rest in London?
Then you could do Stonehedge, Avebury ( where you can touch the stones ) and a few more places. Return the car back at the airport, take the tube to London and you get a little bit of both. As far as spending less on a hotel, try Priceline and lowball it - you won't lose anything. My daughter and I got the Thistle Victoria last April for 5 nights for $45 per night ( and that was American Dollars). Good luck !..
frugaltraveler is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 05:17 AM
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Astral Tours - and perhaps others - do offer tours where you can walk among and touch the stones at Stonehenge. There's also a way you can send off for a pass where you can visit Stonehenge yourself and touch the stones. If that's something you've always wanted to do, then I would! It seems to me that one of the day tours would be the easiest way to do it.
crazy4Hawaii is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 05:22 AM
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The VERY best budget option for a London hotel is bidding on Priceline.com Go to betterbidding.com or biddingfortravel.com for help. You can get a 4* hotel for under $100/night (and up). Here's the link to the London section of BFT so you can see what others are paying.

Make sure you understand what a free re-bid is before you start. Also make sure you've looked at the hotel list for each area and understand where they are.

There are a number of cos. that do tours from London going to Stonehenge. You can also do it on your own, but not as easy. London Walks is a great way to see different parts of London and they also have "explorer days" outside, one includes Stonehenge. Their website is www.walks.com They do Stonehenge and Salisbury on most Tues. and some Sats. Their sched. changes on March 15.

I've not been to the Fat Duck but here's their website with an explanation on how to get there (by train and taxi) http://www.fatduck.co.uk/

There are dozens of previous threads here on budget dining ideas for London if you do a text search.
mclaurie is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 06:19 AM
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Being chefs on a budget, London would be the last city to visit. Try Brussels, Paris, Lyon, -- anyplace but London, known mostly for high prices and horrible food.
hopscotch is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 06:33 AM
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if you are really watching your costs and aren't in London for the fine (?) dining..there is a place on the 2nd floor of Victoria Station that offered a sandwich, chips and fruit for 2 euros..and also a restaurant that had a buy one get one free pizza for 6 euros..you can always bring cup-o-soup, hot chocolate, trail mix, granola bars, from home for a quick and cheap fill...
then the splurge to eat out won't hurt so bad.. also you can hit the grocery store for cheeses and such.. traveling can be done cheap and still be enjoyed.
I also think you should do Stonehedge.. you may regret it if you don't..it would be a shame if that was one of the things that was important for you to see and you didn't..traveling is about your choices, next time you may choose not to got there because once is really enough.
frugaltraveler is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 06:39 AM
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1. StoneheNge

2. £ not euros in the UK.
nona1 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 06:46 AM
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I had lunch at The Fat Duck in November 2005, and its very expensive (around US$1,000 for two, with medium-priced wines). The meal was memorable for its showiness, not necessarily the food quality. Lunch also took around five hours. Its more like sitting in a chemistry lab eating strange experiments, and it certainly was not as good as other Michelin three stars that I've been to. We took a taxi from London, but I think you can take a train to Maidenhead and then take a less expensive taxi.

thit_cho is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 06:54 AM
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you are right about StoneheNge.. and about the pounds not euros..
thanks for the corrections-its humbling to be put in your place ...
frugaltraveler is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 07:19 AM
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I just looked up the Fat Duck website.

It says tasting menu is 115 pounds + wine selection for 90 pounds + 12.5% service makes 231 pounds per person! This is 344 Euros or 453 US Dollars (still per person).

I have eaten in quite a few Michelin-star-restaurants (incl. 3 stars), but this tops everything.

I will immediately cancel my job and apply for an immigrant visa to the USA. Must get a job as a dishwasher there.

Serious again: If you want culinary experiences, go to France. Especially on the countryside, there are hundreds of restaurants serving fantastic meals, some in traditional style, others in highly innovative style. And if you like for Bib Gourmand restaurants, you will have half a dozen wonderful culinary experiences for the price of one single meal in the Fat Duck.
traveller1959 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 12:51 PM
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London has a great public transport system - tubes and buses will take you wherever you want to go. If you really want to see Stongehenge then take a day trip to Salisbury and combine it with the cathedral. Organised tours are usually much more expensive than going alone. There isn't really that much to see there but if it is what you really want to do then go for it.
The Tower of London is certainly worth a visit, and London's museums are excellent and free. There are lovely parks to explore and lots of sites that you don't need to pay for.
You can make London pretty cheap if you are careful. I wouldn't pay to rent a car. If you want to explore further away, take a coach (National Coaches) or a train. Train tickets are often quite cheap if booked in advance (search for the trainline).

Walking around will cost you nothing, transport passes are cheap, museums free. For food, if you mainly stick to pubs and sandwich shops / snack bars you don't have to spend a fortune.

Carolina is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 05:46 PM
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I traveled through England a few years ago and referred to Europe on a Shoestrip for economical places to stay.
Also, check out www.venere.com
here's a 4% discount code BENVDQG
jeremygil is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 06:49 PM
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I know it's fun to knock the food in London, but there are good restaurants and good meals to be had. Also, London (not Brussels or Paris) does happen to be the place where Cheryl and her husband are going.

Here is a link to a post about "foodie" restaurants in London:

Also, I seem to remember that in some survey in the past year, London had the highest number of top rated restaurants.

Being chefs, you will no doubt want to go to the Borough Market - which is open to the public on weekends featuring artisanal food.
noe847 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 07:59 AM
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>Also, I seem to remember that in some survey in the past year, London had the highest number of top rated restaurants.<

>anyplace but London, known mostly for high prices and horrible food<

I am not one who likes to reproduce prejudices on British food. Indeed, I have had some fabulous meals in London as well as in Scotland, from a delicious shepherd's pie in a pub to a world-class 9-course-tasting menu in Brown's Hotel.

But this thing with "top rated restaurants" is ridiculous. The rankings where British restaurants come out good are made by the British gastronomic industry to improve their bad reputation.

Look at the Fat Duck. They serve items like "SALMON POACHED WITH LIQUORICE" or "NITRO-SCRAMBLED EGG AND BACON ICE CREAM". I have already eaten this salmon with liquorice and I am still wondering why should a chef prepare salmon with liquorice?

There are only two reasons to create such a dish: 1) the salmon is not really fresh and the somewhat rotten taste needs to be covered with liquorice. 2) the chef is not able to cook the salmon properly, so it needs an additional taste.

I admire the French chefs who use only the best and freshest ingredients, e.g. turbot from Brittany. Why from Brittany? Because of the high tide in Brittany. The high tide forces the turbots to swim a lot and this trains the muscles and makes the fish tasty. Nobody would cover this delicate taste with liquorice or whatever. I do not mind a hint of anis aroma which may be added by a small glass of Noilly Prat. But liquorice is like using a steamhammer for threading a needle.

The Fat Duck will certainly not be a European culinary experience, and I am in doubt if it would be representative for British food.

BTW, liquorice is pretty cheap, and salmon is not too expensive, and poached salmon with liquorice is anything but tricky to prepare, so I still wonder about this outragous pricing.
traveller1959 is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 03:54 AM
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The UK has 3 3-Michelin star restaurants: the Fat Duck in Bray, Restaurant Gordon Ramsey in Chelsea, and The Waterside Inn in Bray.
If you are in London you might find it more convenient to go to Gordon Ramsey.

There are also 11 2-Michelin star restaurants in England, and 54 restaurants in England with 1-Michelin star.

They might be good places for you to explore. Of course, on a budget, you should also look at a lot of the humbler places. London is fantastic for ethnic restaurants (not just Indian) of all types.
nona1 is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 06:50 AM
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<<We are both Chefs living on Dishwasher's wages. I would so appreciate any sort of input>>


You can eat much better and spend a fraction of the money on hotels and meals if you choose Paris over London.
Is there a reason you chose London besides Stonehenge?
bardo1 is offline  

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