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Old 05-17-2008, 03:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Help with London trip!

Hello,

How is everyone?

Couldn't find a travel section, so I thought to post here. I'm traveling with a group of students for one week in London. We're staying outside of London and taking the train into London to check out the many attractions.

My question relates to transportation -- what's the cheapest way around the city for 7 days? Most of the attractions are within Zone 1 from what I understand. Is there a card that will allow us to travel both the Rail to and from London, and allow us to go around London itself? There are SO many options in London - Youth rail card, travel card, oyster card, group save 3 or 4 rates, etc!

I've called a few places but no clear answers. All recommendations are greatly appreciated!

Thanks.
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Old 05-17-2008, 04:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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When I was there, I used the Oyster Card, and that seemed fairly reasonable. I've heard the Youth Rail card is pretty cheap, if you qualify, though....
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Old 05-17-2008, 04:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I heard about the youth rail card and looked into it and it seems that it only applies if you are a student in the UK. While the group are students, they are not from the UK, but they do have the ISIC card. I can't get a clear answer from anyone if the ISIC is enough to get you the discount if you're not in the UK.
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Old 05-18-2008, 12:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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not sure myself, but one of our members strange_famous llives in the UK and isnt in london..Ispwich i think, so he may know.

more likely than not he'll read this post anyways.
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Old 05-18-2008, 03:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: England
Even though I'm from the UK, I try to avoid London as I'm not a fan of cities.

So, whilst I can't answer on options, since I've only ever had a one day travelcard, I can say is that it's much nicer having the Oyster card, since they are magnetic and you just touch the machine and walk through, instead of slotting in the travel card and having it come back out.

Sorry that's all I can help with though.
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Old 05-18-2008, 03:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Oyster card is the way to go!
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Old 05-18-2008, 03:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I live in London and have for ten years. Quick question - where "outside" London are you staying? What's your nearest station?
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Old 05-18-2008, 04:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Also, if you are seeing attractions that are not covered by your group, there is a travel and admissions card available for one week - gets you on the tube and buses (except during morning rush hour) and some, but not all, attractions.

This website is your friend. Enjoy your trip!

http://www.visitlondon.com/?WT.srch=...FQuDIgodqFvS5Q
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Old 05-18-2008, 10:32 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Location: Southern England
Just remember that if you're from any "normal" city, you will be blown away by what constitutes "inside London".

The population of London is >12 million, and it takes two hours to drive from one side to the other.

I lived in London for 4 years, in various boroughs (Westminster, Camden, Hammersmith) and it's a great town. In general, a 7 day travel card will serve you best - it lets you use the busses and tubes and some surface rail services.
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Old 05-19-2008, 08:58 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hello,

Thanks to everyone who has helped so far -- it seems that the 7 day travel card is the most commonly suggested solution. But how can I incorporate that with the National Rail? We're staying in Stevenage, which is served by First Capital Connect. I've called some of the Rail folk and they've made suggestions like taking the train as far into London as the edge of the Tube system (Zone 6) and then using the tube system to get into Zone one. Would that actually save us money as opposed to taking the rail all the way into Zone one and then just getting and zone 1&2 travelcard? Equally important, is it going to take forever to get from zone 6 to zone 1?

I appreciate everyone's insight.
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Old 05-19-2008, 10:05 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Location: Southern England
By surface rail, it can take about 30-40 minutes to get to the centre of town from Stevenage - most main line stations will let you buy a travelcard that gives you a return ticket to central london and a Z1-6 card for the day.
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╔═════════════════════════════════════════╗
Overhead, the Albatross hangs motionless upon the air,
And deep beneath the rolling waves,
In labyrinths of Coral Caves,
The Echo of a distant time
Comes willowing across the sand;
And everthing is Green and Submarine

╚═════════════════════════════════════════╝
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Old 05-20-2008, 12:55 PM   #12 (permalink)
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What Daniel said. You may be able to make arrangements for a 7-day ticket allowing the same thing. I think there is also a way to arrange a ticket that will allow you all to travel cheaper as a group, but that restricts options for splitting up and exploring in groups.

I'd say take the train as close as you can to where you want to go. Travelling on the tube can be very time consuming if you are travelling across London or between distant zones.
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Old 05-20-2008, 01:03 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Just thought I'd mention that I'm reading this thread as well and appreciate the info, seeing as how onodrim and I are planning a trip to London in the summer as well.
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Old 05-24-2008, 01:31 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Hello,

I'd like to thank everyone for their input -- I was able to find as recommended a Travelcard that gives us rail and tube access for zones 1-6 for 7 days. I looked into the Group Save 4 option (3 people pay, 4th free) and it ends up, once you do the math, to cost exactly the same as the travelcard! This is excellent news. And the 7 day card has no off-peak travel restrictions.

As there are so many knowledgeable people here I'd like to ask another question please: We'd like to go to Windsor Castle. Can we use this same travelcard to do so? Can you get to Windsor Castle using the tube?

Thank you!
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Old 05-24-2008, 02:21 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Location: Ontario, Canada
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheProf
As there are so many knowledgeable people here I'd like to ask another question please: We'd like to go to Windsor Castle. Can we use this same travelcard to do so? Can you get to Windsor Castle using the tube?

Thank you!
You have to take the train to get to Windsor Castle - I think there is one direct from Waterloo. So, tube to Waterloo then train to Windsor. Alternatively, take the tube to Paddington, then train to Slough then train to Windsor.
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Old 05-24-2008, 02:42 PM   #16 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Thank you very much for the information! This helps with the planning.

The last item we're dealing with is food costs. We are staying at a Church retreat where we will be making our own breakfasts and dinners as we have access to a big kitchen. As such, I am trying to work out grocery costs. I don't know how much things are in Stevenage or London. Are there examples of online grocery listings or flyers or from personal experience? We're looking for basic meals for a bunch of students - cheap and easy to make in order to cut the cost down. Any recommendations?

Thanks.
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Old 05-24-2008, 02:55 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Location: Ontario, Canada
The big grocery stores in the UK are Tesco's and Sainsbury's. They probably both have on line flyers to give you an idea. Stick with the basics like pastas, eggs, sandwiches, etc just like at home to keep cost down.

Also, when you are out and about, many bakeries offer pretty good prices on things like pies, sausage rolls, and various pastries, etc as compared with going to eat out at even a fast food place. And food at the touristy places can be pricey so load up on breakfast (the British Museum is about the most criminal in terms of what a meal will cost you!)

Have fun!
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Old 05-24-2008, 04:11 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Thanks very much!
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Old 05-25-2008, 07:25 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Yeah, I very rarely eat out because it's so expensive to eat out in London... heck, even groceries are getting more expensive.

As mentioned before, Sainsbury's and Tesco are the two biggest chains (there's also Asda which is owned by Walmart). When you first arrive at wherever you're staying, just find out where the locals shop. If you're really lucky they might have a farmer's market or something similar where things are even cheaper. I cook at home and pack lunches all the time, and you'll save lots of money and time as a group.
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