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Old 03-09-2001, 08:10 AM   #11
Moiraine
Anubis
 

Join Date: March 1, 2001
Location: Up in the Freedomland Alps
Age: 53
Posts: 2,474
I would add my two cents in advising again, B&Bs and NO black cab.

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Old 03-09-2001, 04:03 PM   #12
Epona
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Join Date: March 1, 2001
Location: London, England
Age: 46
Posts: 5,162
London is now the most expensive city in Europe. There are however loads and loads of free and cheap things to see - here is my personal selection of favorites. Depends on how much of a 'culture vulture' you are, but I won't be offended if you choose not to visit any of my suggestions:

1. British Museum (free). A HUGE place - don't expect to see everything in a few hours. This museum houses antiquities from all round the world including the sculptures from the Parthenon in Athens (c. 450 BC) and a body of an iron age man which had been preserved in peat (Lindow Man).

2. Museum of London (£5). A brilliant museum, really well laid out with good displays detailing the history of London from prehistory to the present day.

3. Tate Britain & Tate Modern art galleries (free). Excellent if you're interested in art - the Tate Modern was only opened a few months ago and is housed in an old power station with great views from the top of the tower.

4. National Gallery (free). Again is good if you like art - this one has an older collection from renaissance to 19th century art.

5. London Eye (about £8). As mentioned above, is not particularly cheap, but worth it for the views of the city & beyond.

Oh, the list could go on and on. Walking is good, but the sights are fairly well spread apart. Bear in mind that in the centre of London the subway/tube stations are only 5 minutes walk apart!!! So whichever method you choose out of underground, bus or walking, the journeys in the West End will generally take you about the same time. Definitely DO NOT hire a car to use in London. Average traffic speed is 8 miles per hour (if you're lucky). Buses use priority lanes so are usually a bit faster, but don't get frustrated if you get in a traffic jam - it will ruin your trip if you let it stress you. Walking is often the best way to get from place to place! Underground trains are usually horrendously crowded.

Boat trips on the Thames are really good, especially the ones to Greenwich.
Walking along the South Bank of the Thames is also a really nice place to go - a reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre is not far from London Bridge Underground station.

Overpriced things to avoid:
Madame Tussauds Waxworks - all the waxworks now look a bit old & dusty, it gets really crowded & isn't really worth the entrance fee (IMHO)

St Paul's Cathedral - although you can go in the entrance for free, you are charged an exhorbitant amount to climb to the dome.

Tower of London - worth looking at from the outside as it's a really well preserved 11th Century fortress, but inside is really crowded & not very cheap.

Because there is so much to see, I would really recommend getting a good guide book - I always use the Rough Guide series. That would have a comprehensive list of all the sights & prices/opening hours.

OUTSIDE LONDON:
Definitely Stonehenge is worth a visit - but don't let it come as a surprise that the stones are fenced off - you can't go right up to them.

Canterbury is a beautiful town with cobbled streets & a lovely cathedral, easily reached by train, not too far from London (about 1 hr I think?)

York is also a very lovely town with a rich history from both Roman and Viking periods with a charming cobbled town centre, good museums, good traditional pubs, and a complete city wall with great big gates, 2hrs from London by train.

Sorry for the long post - hope this gives you some ideas!

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Old 03-11-2001, 01:05 PM   #13
Moridin
Fzoul Chembryl
 

Join Date: March 1, 2001
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 1,735
Thanks everyone for the advice

I got home today and got an email from my friend, the one in Spain, and he said even though he will be in Spain, I can stay in his flat for the week Cool....now I just have to find the blasted place!

I didn't know the cab issue was so big...I am glad you guys informed me of that as I am a big "cab" person. I don't mind taking buses/subway but I really like cabs if I know exactly where I want to go...it is so much easier than trying to figure out how to get there by bus/subway.

This also acts as a *bump* for more advice
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Old 03-11-2001, 01:25 PM   #14
Donut
Jack Burton
 

Join Date: March 1, 2001
Location: Airstrip One
Age: 33
Posts: 5,571
Morodin

Back to the Black Cab issue. Firstly the term 'Black Cab' is now a misnomer. They are now every colour under the sun, even black, and are even painted as travelling advertisements. I'm sure that you know that you can recognise them by the little yellow 'For Hire' sign at the front. The reaon that they are so expensive in Central London is because the meter works on a combination of distance travelled & the time taken. The traffic in Central London is so heavy that it take ages to go anywhere and the cost soon escalates. But if you're stuck in the pouring rain at 1 am you it's probably your best bet. You won't be ripped off, what you see on the meter is what you pay.

London Cab drivers have to study for over 3 years before they can drive a black cab. They spend this time driving around London (usually on a moped) learning every street, landmark, major building and the best way to get from A to B. I have been asked to let you know this by three of my friends who drive London Cabs.

If you let us know the area where your friends flat is & what airport you are arriving at we can give you advice on how to get there.

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Old 03-11-2001, 09:16 PM   #15
Epona
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Join Date: March 1, 2001
Location: London, England
Age: 46
Posts: 5,162
As a female Londoner, I have to say it is best to stick with 'black' cabs - the drivers are licensed and traceable - whereas just about anyone can set up as a minicab driver.

Fares for black cabs are also strictly metered - no cab in London is cheap, but you are unlikely to be ripped off (or attacked for that matter) by a licensed 'black cab' driver. Minicabs often work on a basis of negotiable fares. I have several friends who have had unpleasant experiences from taking rides in unlicensed cabs.

Just as a guide, the black cab fare from central London to my home just outside the city (about 5 or 6 miles) is usually £7 sterling. Bus fare is £1 any journey in central London, night buses are a bit more expensive and run all night, but only 1 every hour on some routes. You can tell them because they have N before the route number. Underground trains stop at about 12.30am most nights, and about 11.30pm on Sundays. London is not a 24 hour city!!!

As Donut says, let us know where in London you will be staying/airport and we will let you have some area-specific travel info.

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Old 03-12-2001, 12:17 AM   #16
Yorick
Very Mad Bird
 

Join Date: January 7, 2001
Location: Breukelen (over the river from New Amsterdam)
Age: 46
Posts: 9,226
I paid 90 pound sterling to get to an airport when I was quoted sixty and was in dire straits (I caught the first available train, it was late and missed the connecting train by two minutes.)

That made the cab fare $270AUD. Almost as much as the plane fare. issed:
I made sure I enjoyed 'the vibe' of the black cab while I was in it though.
Here in Singapore cabs are really cheap thankfully, as I too am a cab person. (Whew)

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Old 03-12-2001, 07:36 AM   #17
Epona
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Join Date: March 1, 2001
Location: London, England
Age: 46
Posts: 5,162
Quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
I paid 90 pound sterling to get to an airport when I was quoted sixty and was in dire straits (I caught the first available train, it was late and missed the connecting train by two minutes.)

That made the cab fare $270AUD. Almost as much as the plane fare. issed:
I made sure I enjoyed 'the vibe' of the black cab while I was in it though.
Here in Singapore cabs are really cheap thankfully, as I too am a cab person. (Whew)

OMG! £90!!! Let me make my meaning clear - black cabs for trips in the centre of London. NEVER, EVER take one to an airport. EVER. There are specialist minicab firms for airport trips. They usually cost for example £35 to Gatwick Airport. But you only need to do this if you miss your train or are leaving at 3am. The train connections with all London airports are excellent:

Gatwick airport to London Victoria Station

Heathrow airport to Paddington Station (or by underground on the Picadilly Line, takes longer but is cheaper)

Stanstead airport to Euston Station (or poss. King's Cross? not sure)

Luton airport to Euston Station

All are journeys of 30-40 minutes and are unlikely to cost more than £10. The underground journey is about £4 or £5.

Don't forget that although these airports are all classed as London airports, none of them are actually in London. Gatwick airport is half way to Brighton on the South Coast. (Of course this seems like a long journey to me, living in a small country - Americans or Australians would I'm sure put me right about this!)

Moridin - please let me know more details about your trip - I live in, and do a lot of travel in London (by necessity) and I'm sure I can really help. I can let you have the name of a good 'airport' minicab firm for if you're arriving at god knows what time in the morning. And let you know what bus/tube routes are near where you're staying. Or you can e-mail me if you prefer (address in my profile).

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Old 03-12-2001, 07:53 AM   #18
Bruce The Aussie
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Join Date: March 2, 2001
Location: Chaotica (london,england)
Age: 31
Posts: 1,798
just quickley be warey of pickpockets and if you're going to be in the centre of london DON'T RENT A CAR i say this because my dad takes two hours on the train to work every day and in the car it takes him 3-4 hours.

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Old 03-12-2001, 10:20 AM   #19
Donut
Jack Burton
 

Join Date: March 1, 2001
Location: Airstrip One
Age: 33
Posts: 5,571
Let's not frighten people off. London is one of the largest cities in the world and like any large city there are problems with crime etc. As long as you keep your wits about you there will be no problem. Just use common sense.

Yorick - I'm sorry you had that experience. If it was a black cab you should have taken their cab license number. Unfortunately the rules regulating black cabs don't apply outside of London.

By the way, you never told me you were in Dire Straits, I love your stuff! 'here come Johnny singing oldies, goldies, be bop a lula baby what I say'. 'I want my MTVeeeeeeeeeeee'.

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Old 03-12-2001, 11:09 AM   #20
Moridin
Fzoul Chembryl
 

Join Date: March 1, 2001
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 1,735
Yorick--
I will definately avoid the black cabs now! At least to and from the airport. Thanks for taking the time to reply BTW. How is Singapore the second time around?
Epona & Donut--
I am flying into Gatwick, but don't know where my friends flat is....he hasn't sent an email yet with an address. I fly in around 9am and fly out at noon so catching a train to/from should be no problem. And I have heard about the pickpockets in London, but the Twin Cities is a large enough city so I am accustomed to the crime problems


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