Anyone from London?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by lowendlinux, Sep 22, 2015.

  1. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #1
    My daughter and are are heading to London the first week of November. We want to do all the tourist stuff and probably eat some traditional English food in the process. London is a big city and like all big cities I'm sure it has neighborhoods tourists probably shouldn't go either for scammers or safety. Which are those neighborhoods so I can steer clear for both booking my hotel and during the visit?
     
  2. jeremy h macrumors 6502

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    #2
    I'm not sure there's anywhere I'd describe as 'unsafe'. London is odd, in that the rich and poor live cheek by jowl. One street can be full of multi millionaires and you turn a corner and there's a street full social housing so it's tricky to say one area is safer than another. (We do have some problems with violence but they're mainly knife crime between teenagers and drunken punch ups. That stuff is generally quite specific and you'd have to be pretty unlucky to see it.) Like anywhere just be sensible and confident.

    To be honest your biggest risk if you're coming from the States is crossing the road. Look the right way... Take an extra second to check - There's plenty of one way systems and bus lanes that run the 'wrong way'.

    The best way to understand London is to remember it's not a city with a specific centre - its a sprawling mass old villages and little towns that have been linked up by the tube and the gaps between them filled up with houses. Loads of little self sufficient islands of pubs, restaurants and shops in a sea of houses and parks so to suggest one area is a bit tricky. They've all got their own character but all have a pretty similar range of facilities. Perhaps post some options of where you're thinking of and we can give you an idea of what its like and how central it is?
     
  3. sim667 macrumors 65816

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    #3
    I don't think we have any "unsafe" areas as such either. The main rough areas aren't where you're going to end up if you're on the tourist traps, any the places that can be a little more iffy tend to be 60's and 70's looking tower blocks, and even then any londoner would stroll on straight through like it was nothing. Violence in london tends to be between young disenfranchised white and black young men, but with operation trident etc its cooled down considerably, to a point where day to day, londoners don't notice it, and the tourists definitely won't. Also in part to the fact london has been gentrified to the point its ridiculous...... I imagine you need 300-400K just to buy a 1 bed flat anywhere in zone 1&2 now.

    One thing that is reported to be happening here more and more is pickpocketing, which was normally the reserve of visiting barcelona..... easy trick is have a few quid in your wallet, and keep your main bulk of money and cards etc in a money pouch, if you're paranoid about that kind of thing.

    Things to remember is that when it comes to london if something looks scruffy and covered in graffiti, doesn't necessarily mean its a dodgy area (infact rarely does), and if you end up somewhere like Brick Lane, where you're quite obviously the minority don't worry about it, we don't get bothered about who's areas are who's in London much, if at all. If you do end up in brick lane, make sure you get a curry, banging curry down there.

    Let us know what you want to see, types of things you want to see and maybe we can advise you a bit?
     
  4. lowendlinux thread starter Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #4
    The plan is Nunberg to Gatwick with if I have my way a hotel near Gatwick if tenable. Then into the city to see the changing of the guard, Tower of London, Big Ben, Tower Bridge et. al. TBH my daughter will come up with the list that she wants to see. I'd like to see the British museum, Hyde Park, and the Museum of Natural History and maybe take a day and go to the coast. Really there is nothing hard and fast yet and is sort of compensation for net getting the Lake Garda this year like we told her.
     
  5. fandangoxx macrumors member

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    #5
    If you stay near Gatwick, you will be on the train line that serves London and Brighton. So a trip to the coast (and the gay capital of England) will be within easy reach.

    Also if you plan on using the tube/buses alot get an Oyster card. Should be able to pick one up from any tube station ticket office.
     
  6. jeremy h, Sep 22, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2015

    jeremy h macrumors 6502

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    #6
    If you want to stay at Gatwick - Gatwick to Victoria (Gatwick > E Croydon > Victoria) is a pretty quick journey. It's also easy to get to Brighton going south on the same line. It's a heavy commuter route so try and avoid commuting back and forth at peak times if you don't like being a bit squashed. The trains run quite late (midnight'ish) so it's a perfectly feasible plan even if you stay out till last orders etc.

    The British Museum is fantastic. Another good way to spend a few hours is to go to Embankment tube and walk across the bridge to the South Bank. There's the centre itself (with a reasonable bar often with stuff going on) but the walk along the river towards is always really nice. There's now quite a few restaurants down there too...

    ---

    Ah, beaten to it by fandangoxx... Also just to note, the Oyster thing is a very good idea but I think only go out as far as E Croydon - which is annoying. So you'll probably end up using combination of Oyster card and train tickets.
     
  7. lowendlinux thread starter Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #7
    The general reason for Gatwick is that our plane back home is earlyish Saturday and my daughter is not a morning person so if we stay out there, there won't be the panic and the potential for a missed flight. We can do this hotel http://www.blochotels.com/gatwick/ with airfare Monday through Saturday morning for 400 Euro per person on expedia.de.

    Thanks for the tip on the Oyster card under 11 travels free so that's 6.40 a day and will save a lot of hassles and stress and free us to roam a bit more!

    Thanks folks!
     
  8. sim667 macrumors 65816

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    #8
    I know exactly where that hotel and it is literally on the airport so very close (I live ten mins away from the airport).

    One thing to bear in mind travelling to London each way is that your looking about an hour travel each way. And as was mentioned earlier because it's in a massive commuter line it will be busy from 7-9 am and 5-7 pm. It's also worth considering that the train line is rubbish, so there will be delays and cancellations, and whilst I can't remember which day you're coming on, I do know that the train line is totally shutdown between Xmas day and new year.

    There's loads and loads to do in London there's all the royal stuff (*spits in the floor), and there's masses of museums. The British museum, the science museum, the VA and the natural history museum are some of the best and mostly free I believe, plus the va, natural history and science are all opposite each other.

    If art galleries are you thing the national gallery and the national portrait gallery are next to each other at trafalger square and the Tate modern just across the river on the southbank.

    Culturally Camden is relatively interesting especially if you've got a teen daughter, but I believe they've demolished it's famous market, carnaby street (although it's really just shops) and brick lane are places I think are all interesting.

    Travel wise, in peak times on the train (7-9.30 am I think) a travel card will cost around £30, and there's a child rate of your daughter is under 16, off peak they're £18 ish..... I can't fully remember off the top of my head. Travel cards give you unlimited travel in London for the day.

    In Brighton the pier, the lanes and the palace are the tourist hotspots. As a little hint at the end of the pier if you face the roundabout, turn left, go down the stairs and walk along the path where the beach meets the wall that supports the promenade, there's a few abandoned shops, but at the end there's a penny arcade with Victorian up until about the 40's arcades, which I think are much more interesting than the arcades on the pier. There's also the volks railway but I'm not sure if it's still open.

    Oh and don't expect a sandy beach ;)
     
  9. sim667 macrumors 65816

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    #9
    The oyster won't cover you from where you're staying, you'll need to buy a return to London too which is about £11 for an adult return I think.
     
  10. sim667 macrumors 65816

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    #10
    Oh yeah and have a look at travelodge hotels, you may be able to get one slap bang in the middle of London for a couple of nights.

    If so I'd consider staying in London for a couple of days and then getting the train to Brighton Friday, drop your bags off at the hotel there and then stay at that hotel Friday night for your flight Saturday.

    If you want good English grub too you're better off trying to find traditional pubs than you will be eating in chains, they'll let an under 18 in if they're eating usually. Plus you can have a pint ;)

    I particularly like the lamb in lamb conduit street, it's still got snob windows so that poshos don't have to look at the bar staff serfs when ordering their drinks.
     
  11. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #11
    I used to think it was dangerous too (coming from a small northern village where there is no crime) but having been thrust into getting lost in London a few times I've never been in a position of danger.

    One thing I do enjoy is not using the tube. I find that walking between places lets you take in the scale of the place. And in rush hour it might even save you time!
     
  12. lowendlinux thread starter Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #12
    So this trip is booked, but I ended up booking for Heathrow as our return trip was from there no matter where we flew in and our Friday return is at 7:45 and neither myself nor my daughter are morning people. The hotel has an underground right around the corner so public transportation shouldn't be to bad but I think we'll take a cab from the airport to the hotel which is supposedly less than two miles. Doing that will allow us to orient to where we are and I can probably schedule a Friday pickup to take us back. My budget trip is still within reason but I think it's going to blow up a bit more.
     
  13. fandangoxx macrumors member

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    #13
    What underground station is it? Make sure you pick up an oyster card from an underground ticket booth, be much cheaper than buying tickets.
     
  14. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #14
    If you're staying less than 2 miles from Heathrow, then it'll take you probably around 45 minutes to get into Central London on the Underground, FYI. It will also cost you more to get into the city since Underground pricing is based off zones, and you're in an outer zone, traveling into an inner zone.

    Staying that far outside of central London seems extremely inconvenient, especially if you're out an about in the city and want to head back to the hotel for a quick rest or change of clothes before heading back out for the evening.

    If waking up early for your flight out is a concern, you could always use the Heathrow Express to get from central London to Heathrow. It's a bit pricey (I want to say 15 or 20 quid a person each way) but it takes you from Paddington Station to Heathrow nonstop in about 20 minutes. Honestly, probably not much longer than a cab ride from a hotel near LHR to the airport, so you could stay near Paddington and get to the airport without waking up at the arse crack of dawn. I stayed at the Tune Hotel near Paddington last time I was in London. It's centrally located, and Tune Hotels are relatively cheap (it's the concept of low cost airlines applied to hotels, so there are some sacrifices to be made, but it was nice for the price I paid).
     
  15. fandangoxx macrumors member

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    #15
    Yeah if you are staying at Heathrow, it's more Middlesex than London. Still you'll be close to Pinewood studios and England's most treasured town - Slough.

    If you want to know what Slough looked like in the 1970s, go there today.
     
  16. lowendlinux thread starter Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #16
    I hadn't planned on returning back to the hotel until after dinner I have internal framed day pack that I'll keep the stuff we'll need for the day. When I was surfing I say that there were 3 ways to get in all with varying costs so we'll see which is the best (I'll have to get the app for that ;)). Thursday is going to be the Harry Potter tour which is an all day affair, Wednesday will probably be the Muggle tour (seeing a pattern here) which will be a couple three hours in the afternoon. That'll leave us with the afternoon on Monday, Tuesday, and half a day on Wedesday. There are supposedly on off tours of the city so we'll probably do on Tuesday to make sure we see all the sights. I guess we'll see how it goes :p
     
  17. fandangoxx macrumors member

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    #17
    I see the muggle Tour starts in London Bridge. Whilst you are there I recommend heading to Borough market and grabbing a sandwich from 'Roast To Go', about £6 for a really nice English Roast in a bap. You also might find some nice gifts in the market to take back with you.
     
  18. fandangoxx macrumors member

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    #18
    Also in London Bridge is a fantastic traditional pub - 'The George' and if you want to try something more European, head to 'Katzenjammers' a nice German beer cellar.
     
  19. lowendlinux thread starter Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #19
    Thanks for the recommendations! I'm coming from Germany so no European I'm looking for English ;)
     
  20. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #20
    I did a semester at uni there and it's terribly dangerous for a Yankee trying to cross the street as is mentioned. I almost got nailed on first few days there.

    I live now in a tourist village in the states and I often see Brits who rent cars and end up driving on wrong side of road, but sometimes they could be from other countries that drive on same side of road. There are a lot of small areas where there's little traffic and sometimes you find yourself all alone on the road with no reference and before you know it you are in the wrong lane. We are in an area so sparsely populated and spread out so all tourists end up in rental cars and that's when we come into accident issues. Too fast, too slow, wrong lane, etc.

    But I miss South Kensington and sometimes dream I am back there or somewhere in London.
     
  21. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #21
    You sure they were Brits or just dumb locals too busy texting to pay attention to the road? ;) I've driven in Ireland and New Zealand and thought driving on the other side of the road was the easiest part of driving there. It's the windy, narrow roads that made it tough. Especially Ireland, NZ wasn't as bad. If I woke up tomorrow and the US had switched to right hand drive overnight, I think I'd be OK. But I guess I can't speak for everyone else though.
     
  22. 63dot, Oct 31, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015

    63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #22
    We have a ton of people from UK but it could have been other Europeam countries. :)

    The wrong side of the road drivers start June 1st every year almost without fail and are completely gone by September 1st so it's certainly not locals. There are certainly a lot of bad local drivers here all year around glued to their smartphones instead of paying attention to the road.

    Canada drives on same side, but from a map I see it can be Australians, New Zealanders, or drivers from Scotland, Northern Ireland, or Ireland. With India, Pakistan, Japan, and much of Africa, this makes a pretty large contingent of people who drive on the left side of the road.
     
  23. lowendlinux thread starter Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #23
    I thought Stuttgart was bad regarding traffic and cost but it's a deal compared to this place :confused:
     
  24. The-Real-Deal82 macrumors 601

    The-Real-Deal82

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    #24
    Just stay off the M25 if you can. I dread to think how many hours of my life have been wasted queuing to get off at Leatherhead lol. It's a lot easier by train around London. It's not really built for cars despite there being thousands of roads ;)
     
  25. lowendlinux thread starter Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #25
    The problem was a lot of stuff we did revolved around busses. It's yet another city where it'd be truly pointless to have a car.
     

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