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London conference 2008 - London?
Thread poster: Michael Benis

Michael Benis  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:52
Italian to English
+ ...
Oct 6, 2008

Are you thinking of coming to the conference a few days early or staying on in London for a few days afterwards to make the most of your visit? Do you want tips on places to visit or restaurants to eat? Here's the place to ask them and get plenty of helpful answers from your London-based colleagues.

Striking up a friendship here could even lead to a London Host arrangement.

If it does, please let me know so the host can be included in the special prize draw and maybe win a delicious bottle of organic wine!

Best regards

Michael

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2010-06-15 19:19 GMT]


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Cora Bastiaansen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:52
Member (2007)
French to Dutch
+ ...
Looking for tips and/or company Oct 6, 2008

Thanks, Michael, for facilitating all this!

I am extending my stay for a few days after the conference and would appreciate sightseeing tips (not the ordinary). I am interested in exhibitions (e.g. Darwin, Dali), (flee) markets, books, etc.
I am also interested in sharing this with other people who will be visiting London.

(No host arrangement needed, I already booked a hotel)

Looking forward to meeting you all.

Cora

[Edited at 2008-10-06 21:09]


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:52
Spanish to English
+ ...
Suggestions Oct 6, 2008

Unfortunately, I won't be in London at that time but it's one of my favorite cities. Here are some suggestions:

The Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green (affiliated, I think, with the Victoria and Albert Museum, though physically separate from it) presents a multi-century history of games, play and toys. Lots of nostalgia value, of course, but also fascinating from a historic standpoint.

I usually also enjoy prowling through the used book shops in Charing Cross Road, and seeing whatever exhibits are current at the British Museum.

At some point I generally stop by the discount ticket booths in Leicester Square (usually the TKTS booth run by the Society of London Theatres) in search of affordable theater tickets.

[Edited at 2008-10-06 21:42]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:52
French to English
Public transport - Oyster card Oct 6, 2008

One thing that immediately springs to mind is that the cheapest way to use public transport is with an Oyster card.

Public transport in London is expensive anyway, but the cash (or credit card at the ticket machine) prices are much, much higher than with an Oyster card.

The snag is that I am not really that sure exactly how, or if, you can get one from outside of UK in advance of your visit. To be honest, I have an unpleasant suspicion that it might not be possible, purely in order to milk more money from foreign tourists on their first day. But if you check a few travel/tourism websites locally, you might find something out. Anyway, just thought I'd mention it - Oyster card.


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Percy Balemans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:52
English to Dutch
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Oyster cards Oct 7, 2008

Charlie Bavington wrote:

The snag is that I am not really that sure exactly how, or if, you can get one from outside of UK in advance of your visit. To be honest, I have an unpleasant suspicion that it might not be possible, purely in order to milk more money from foreign tourists on their first day. But if you check a few travel/tourism websites locally, you might find something out. Anyway, just thought I'd mention it - Oyster card.


The last time I visited London, I bought an Oyster card at the ticket office in the underground station at Heathrow, so I could use it right away. You have to pay a £3 deposit, but this will be refunded, along with the remaining balance on the card, when you hand in the card (which can also be done at the same ticket office). Or you can keep the card for your next visit.

[Edited at 2008-10-07 00:21]


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Percy Balemans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:52
English to Dutch
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Some of my favourites Oct 7, 2008

The Charles Dickens museum, Shakespeare's Globe and the Museum of London.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 19:52
Member (2003)
Danish to English
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Cheap day tickets Oct 7, 2008

Percy Balemans wrote:

The last time I visited London, I bought an Oyster card at the ticket office in the underground station at Heathrow, so I could use it right away. You have to pay a £3 deposit, but this will be refunded, along with the remaining balance on the card, when you hand in the card (which can also be done at the same ticket office). Or you can keep the card for your next visit.

[Edited at 2008-10-07 00:21]


If you are only in London for a couple of days, another option is a day ticket. They vary in price depending on how many zones they cover, but they are quite reasonable, and you then have unlimited travel within those zones on that day.

Next day, of course, you need a new ticket, but there is no hassle with refunds or having keep the card safe afterwards.

Walking along the banks of the river is one of my favourite pastimes in London. It is free, at least as long as you can resist all the tempting cafés and people selling souvenirs and tickets to tourist attractions ...


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:52
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Oyster cards Oct 7, 2008

It appears that you can open an account at
https://oyster.tfl.gov.uk/oyster/guest/registerCustomerCard.do?method=display
and then order a card at
https://oyster.tfl.gov.uk/oyster/entry.do
Nothing is said specifically about applications from outside the UK but there doesn't appear to be any reason why such applications should not be made.


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Jean-Pierre Bergez Saretzki  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:52
English to Spanish
More about London Oct 7, 2008

If you If you land at Heathrow, you can buy it straight away at the Underground ticket office before boarding the train, as Percy said.
If you land at Stansted, you have to take the Stansted Express train (about 45 min and 25 GBP return ticket) that leaves you at Liverpool Street Station where you can go directly to the Underground ticket office and buy the Oyster card.
If you land at Gatwick, you have to take the Gatwick Express (about 30 min and 28 GBP return ticket) train to Victoria Station where you can go directly to the Underground ticket office and buy the Oyster card.
If you land at Luton you can take a bus or a bus+train to Central London, but wherever you stop try to find an Underground Station soon and buy an Oyster card. This is the worst airport to land if nobody is coming to pick you up.

London transport is a total rip off, and so is everything else. However, nothing beats the Oyster card. If you buy a one day travelcard you must get the zones you are going to travel right (for tourists, zone 1 and 2 are usually enough) because if you go outside your prepaid zone you will have to pay the difference. Oyster card work as a one day travelcard anyway, because the machines stop deducting money from the card once you have reach a certain amount which is actually below the one day travelcard price. Sounds easy, it is, like everything else in London. Try parking your car, which should be a good test of your city abilities. Anyway, bring plenty of cash and bags of patience. And an umbrella, it has not stopped raining this May.

Do you like parks? Well, go to Kew Gardens (must pay) and spend the whole day there, or go to Regents Park (free) for a walk and, of course, to the top of Primrose Hill (free) to get a panoramic view of the city. However, there are only a couple of weeks left before the trees and all plants get their winter coat on and unless you like the winter look this sightseeing will be pretty disappointing.

Do you like rivers? Take a boat trip down the Thames (not too expensive) and spend half a day at Greenwich where you can see the burnt to a crisp Cutty Sark (fortunately they managed to get the whisky out before it was too late) and the Maritime Museum, and of course your will be able to stand stride over meridian 0 (if the rest of the tourists allow you)

Do you like museums? There are plenty (for all tastes) and entrance is free to most of them, although they charge for some exhibits (usually the one you want to see).

Night life? Well, again, there is plenty of choice and it all depends on what you like and want to do. But if you haven't go a clue of where to go, just go to the Soho area have a walk around and I'm sure you'll end up having a drink or two somewhere.

Street markets? Portobello on Saturday, where you can walk the street from end to end in about 2 to 3 hours (taking it easy), from the antiques end to the cheap end or the other way round depending on where you get off at the Underground (Notting Hill or Ladbroke Grove). And Camden on Sunday, where you can taste a sample of all decades since the sixties.

This is a beautiful, clean, old and well kept city, especially if you stay in zone 1 and 2 and you do not venture to any of the more seedy boroughs, you shall leave with a very good impression of London. People in the street tend to be very polite, drivers will let you cross at your own leisure, and there is a general nice feeling. However, in shops and restaurants you are on your own, service is terrible, but if you do not like to be hassle is ideal. Chances of being mugged are very low; you can be prey of pickpockets if you are over careless, like anywhere else in the world. This is an expensive city, make no mistake about that, but being as we are rich translators and interpreters that should not be much of problem.

[Edited at 2008-10-07 08:44]

[Edited at 2008-10-07 09:00]

[Edited at 2008-10-07 09:04]


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Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:52
Italian to English
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more Oysters Oct 7, 2008

At the risk of sounding like a TFL advert (!) all I would say is that if you do get an Oyster, remember to always touch in and touch out (in the yellow zone), even if the entry/exit gate is already open (nearly always the case at my nearest station), or you may be charged the maximum cash fare.

Have a great time,
Amy


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Paul Adie  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Spanish to English
+ ...
V & A Oct 7, 2008

Whenever I get the chance to go to London and have a free afternoon, I always go to the Victoria and Albert Museum. The world's largest museum of decorative arts. It's got everything - metalwork, wood, sculpture, rugs, textiles, furniture, jewellery...just love it there. And it's free!

Enjoy the conference!

Paul


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:52
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just avoid Heathrow Oct 7, 2008

Sorry folks, but Heathrow... never again! Just my personal recommendation to avoid it. Overcrowded, disorganised... only good if you enjoy being screamed at and being driven as cattle, or if you feel adventurous and enjoy walking long, narrow, dark, odd corridors while a tired ground attendant opens doors with the magnetic card as you advance. Any other airport will serve you better.

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Michael Benis  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:52
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Gatwick to King's Cross + a few more recommendations Oct 7, 2008

I just thought I'd mention that people travelling from Gatwick can also get a train to Kings Cross as opposed to Victoria, which leaves you much closer to the Camden Centre and the three hotels.

A few other recommendations, depending on your tastes are:

Madame Tussaud's waxworks museum
The Whitechapel gallery (contemporary art)
The National Film Theatre - which could just happen to be showing that wonderful old art-house cinema you saw twenty years ago and have never been able to see again - things like the wonderful Pirosmani, for example.

And if you want a noisy, somewhat overpriced and very wacky meal, try the Elizabethan Rooms (St Martin's Lane if memory serves) where you will eat Tudor-style off reproduction period wooden plates, with the old two-pronged forks etc. by the light of large wax candles while being entertained by lutists, jesters etc.

Dim sum fanatics will also enjoy Chinatown in Soho. The Lok Ho Fook and Lee Ho Fook are old favourites there, but others may have m ore up-to-date suggestions.... where you get the best dim sum very much depends on where teh ebst chefs have just moved to.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 18:52
Dutch to English
+ ...
What is so bad about Luton Airport? Oct 7, 2008

Apart from the fact that you have to take the shuttle bus to the nearby train station - no big deal, they leave every few minutes and the price is included in your train ticket, which you can buy beforehand - this is the cheapest airport to land at as the tickets on its express train into central London are by far the cheapest (less than GBP 10). OK, it takes 10 minutes longer than the Gatwick Express but it stops at the new St Pancras station, which is very central (close to Kings Cross and Euston and home of the Eurostar) and has some great shops (including Rituals) and a lovely champagne bar upstairs, which is always a good way to kick off a trip to London

In fact, that's exactly what I'll be doing on the 21st of November as I'm going again to see another show and have a long weekend off.

[Edited at 2008-10-07 10:27]


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Michael Benis  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:52
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
St Pancras Oct 7, 2008

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:

OK, it takes 10 minutes longer than the Gatwick Express but it stops at the new St Pancras station


It's also worth noting that St Pancras is very close to the conference venue and hotels.

Cheers

Mike


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