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Off topic: Travelling to London: Tips Welcome!
Thread poster: Rossana Triaca

Rossana Triaca  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 21:14
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
Jul 11, 2008

Hi there,

I'll be touring the city (and perhaps a little of the country if the budget stretches that far) on late August/September, and thanks the wonderful colleagues on this site that have shared their experiences on the fora I already have some tips about things I shouldn't miss (e.g., the (in)famous marmite!).

Nonetheless, I'd welcome any ideas or suggestions as to what to see/taste/hear/touch while I'm there aside from the obvious touristy places for a first timer.

Also, I need some advice for disambiguation purposes; what area strikes you better for a tourist couple staying for at least 10 days: Earls Court (Zone 1, close to the Earls Court tube station) or Shepherd's Bush (Zone 2, close to the the Hammersmith & City station)?

Any and all tips are most welcome!


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xxxPeter Manda
Local time: 20:14
German to English
+ ...
london Jul 11, 2008

In London, I stand by the carpet collection in the Victoria and Albert, and the Science Museum which beats most science museums worldwide, hands down.
In London, I prefer to stay in a bed and breakfast and preferably outside town. Otherwise, I would stay in Zone 1 simply for the convenience of being able to walk to most touristy sites (including my pics).


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Paula James  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:14
French to English
+ ...
Earl's Court Jul 11, 2008

Whilst you can't necessarily walk everywhere from Earl's Court (it's not right in the centre - but there is nowhere in London you can walk to most things from), there are certainly a lot more options than from Shepherd's Bush, which is not only a bit further out, but not really the most attractive area for tourists, more of a real-life London experience. Earl's Court is close enough to walk to the V&A, Science and Natural History Museum, which are all free, and to Hyde Park.

Quite honestly, there are so many things to do in London, that it's a bit difficult to know what to recommend, it depends what you like doing: shopping (markets, shops...), culture, eating etc.


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xxxJPW  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
I'd second that. Jul 11, 2008

there are certainly a lot more options than from Shepherd's Bush, which is not only a bit further out, but not really the most attractive area for tourists, more of a real-life London experience.


I lived in "The 'Bush" for about a year (Findon Road anyone?) and there's not a lot for tourists there at all. I'm not even sure where you could stay, although there's bound to be somewhere. It's not going to be any cheaper, so why put yourself out?

Earl's Court or thereabouts will give a better flavour of 'Tourist London' and serve as a better base for planning your itineraries. As far as what to do is concerned, well, it's London so you're gonna be literally spoilt for choice - there'll be more to leave out than you can fit in, although 10 days should be plenty for the major ones.

I always remember the Tower of London as a great visit BUT I think now they may have taken some of the stuff away to (?)Leeds, which diminishes the experience somewhat.

There are plenty of great museums too: the Natural History Museum was a great visit. The best of the museums are free.

And don't forget to spend a fortune on things you'll never use in Harrods.

http://www.londontourist.org/intro.html



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canaria
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:14
French to English
+ ...
Shephers Bush station I believe is closed for some considerable Jul 11, 2008

time so you may want to be somewhere with better transport links.

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Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:14
Italian to English
+ ...
tfl/Tate Modern/Time Out/Marmite Jul 11, 2008

To echo the previous poster, check the Transport for London site for planned works--engineering work is pretty much the norm at weekends but you don't want to book accommodation and find that your nearest station is having a refit. The tube is obviously not the only way to get around London, but there it is.

The view of the London skyline from the bar on one of the top floors in the Tate Modern is worth a look, and the Turbine Hall is a really great space and worth seeing. It's free to get in, too.

Time Out is always worth a look for quirky events etc. and things that are off the tourist trail.

Enjoy,
Amy

PS A tip for the Marmite: Resist the urge to spread it on too thick. You need the tiniest, tiniest amount to start with or you will blow the roof of your mouth right off. I do not jest. Go thin.

[Edited at 2008-07-11 13:40]


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Jenni Jelse  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 02:14
Member (2007)
English to Swedish
+ ...
Earl's Court Jul 11, 2008

I also believe that the Shephard's Bush station is closed for a few more months, at least on one line, and Earl's Court is very popular with tourists (on a budget). I live in South Kensington close to Earl's Court station and although there isn't really that much to do here there are some fantastic museums, and Earl's Court has got great transport links.


[Edited at 2008-07-11 13:34]


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Elin Davies  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2008)
English to Welsh
+ ...
Travel outside of London Jul 11, 2008

You might already know this, but if you intend to travel to another area, buying the train ticket a week or more in advance gives you a much much cheaper price (I travelled from London to Brighton for £3, whilst the price if buying on the day of travel was £19). You can also get a very good price on first class tickets if you do it this way. You can buy online, and collect the ticket from self service machines at the station, all you need is the reference number which is emailed to you and the card you used to buy the ticket. This is the website: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/index.html

Brighton is quite nice for a daytrip as well if you just want a short trip to the seaside and see a different city, with a direct train from Victoria (make sure you get the train that only has two other stops on the way, or it will take you all day to get there).


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
And speaking of the Victoria & Albert Museum... Jul 11, 2008

The V&A's Museum of Childhood, located near the Bethnal Green station, is a wonder. A friend and I spent several hours there seeing the history of play and games, as well as related topics. (When we were there in '99, there was an exhibit tracing how childbirth had changed over the previous 600 years or so.) The Museum's web site is http://www.vam.ac.uk/moc/

Central London is wonderfully walkable, but you'll want to take the Tube to get to most places unless you're a really, *really* avid walker. (I've been known to stroll from Earl's Court to the South Bank but it's definitely not for everyone.)

If memory serves, Earl's Court is also home to one of the shrinking number of London gyms that sells day passes so visitors can work out. At least they were still selling day passes when I was there in 2004.

Buen viaje...

[Edited at 2008-07-11 17:13]


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 20:14
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Day Trips Jul 11, 2008

For an atmosphere of academia, try a day trip to Cambridge.

If Shakespeare interests you, try a day trip to Stratford.

A good tour of London can be had by boat - a ride on the Thames will give you a lot of the city's history.

Have fun!

Nancy


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:14
Swedish to English
+ ...
Shepherd's Bush closed for the summer Jul 11, 2008

Canaria and others are correct. From TfL's website:

"SHEPHERDS BUSH CENTRAL LINE STATION: Closed until mid-October for refurbishment work. A rail replacement bus service operates between Shepherds Bush Central line station, from the taxi rank outside the station, and White City station bus stop "B". Journey times may be increased by up to 20 minutes. Oyster card pay as you go holders should use the free replacement bus service or the 148 bus to Holland Park and Notting Hill Gate."

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/livetravelnews/realtime/tube/tube-central-now.html

Something else to keep in mind is the (exorbitant) cost of travelling by public transport in London. Bus passes are the same regardless of which zones you travel between, but if you want to use the tube the "higher" the zone, the more expensive:

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/default.aspx


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Rossana Triaca  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 21:14
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all... Jul 12, 2008

for the wonderful tips and links! Shep Bush is now completely ruled out; it was a cheaper option for being farther out (the mighty pound will really hurt my savings, everything is 4 times more expensive for us) but besides that I liked the idea of a more "authentic" feel since there were fewer tourists. However, without a tube link it's certainly a no-no for setting up a base camp. Earls Court, brace yourself!

I actually have 22 days to spend, but we were toying with the idea to escape to Dublin or Edinburgh for a few days (although my gut feeling is that we will have so many things to do and see in London and its surroundings that we won't go farther than Brighton/Bath/Dover/Ox/Cam, etc.). I didn't know train tickets had such discounts with early booking, I'll be sure to schedule in advance.

Anyway, thanks again, and don't hesitate to ask me to smuggle anything from these parts you may covet (tannat wine, dulce de leche, alfajores, etc.)

p.s. The only sugesstion I ruled flat out is the gym membership; I plan to walk as fas as my legs will take me to try to see as much as possible (plus I skip soo many gym classes here I won't go half around the world to do the same - for do the same I would
p.s. 2 I am now oficially afraid of marmite. Blow the roof of my mouth off? Wow!

[Edited at 2008-07-12 10:14]


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xxxJPW  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Just to clarify... Jul 12, 2008

Shepherd's Bush actually has two tube stations, on separate lines, within reasonable walking distance (last time I was there). I think they are also to be renamed to avoid confusion, if this hasn't already happened. And there is a bus link to replace the closed station, so it's not as if you would be stuck somewhere outside of civilization....but I suppose closing one of London's busiest tube stations won't help its already oversubscribed services any, so you probaly made the right choice there.

What you could do is take a short trip to Shepherd's Bush one day to see what you might have chosen as a place to stay, just to be nosy...

**Also remember that a lot of the best London attractions are free. Public transport is very dear, that's true. But Dublin (and probably Edinburgh too) are as dear as London. The smart Dubliners traditionally went north for their shopping. Only petrol and diesel are cheaper down south, and let's face it, you're unlikely to need either of those in great quantities.

I've not seen anything beyond Edinburgh's train station, but I can't see it being any cheaper really, given that it's Scotland's first city. Anyway, Glasgow's miles better, my spies tell me.

You're right about one thing - there'll be so much to see and do in London, you'll not get to see the one half of it, but you can have a damned good try. Great city, fond memories.


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Elin Davies  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2008)
English to Welsh
+ ...
Another cheaper transport tip... Jul 12, 2008

If you're going to be using public transport in London, you might want to get an Oyster card (http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/oysteronline/2732.aspx) which you can use on the tube, buses and others.

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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:14
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Tour Buses Jul 23, 2008

My advice is to take one of the tour buses that ply their way around the streets of this fascinating city. The one I remember taking was called "London Plus" but there are many other companies, including the "Big Bus Company". In the summer (just in case it doesn't rain) open-top buses are used.

The usual scheme is to buy a ticket valid for 24 hours, the buses have a fixed itinerary that passes close to most of the tourist spots. If you want to get off and see an attraction more closely, you just disembark at one of the designated points and continue your journey later.

I remember that with the London Plus there were two buses leaving at the same time, one with live commentary (in English) and the other with taped commentary (in eight languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Welsh, German). I did this trip some time ago now, but I think the price was 15 quid (this means pounds, in case you don't know - you are likely to hear this quite often while in London).


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