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London Double deckers
Favorite thing: Wherever in the world you see a double decker, you immediately think of London. It is almost impossible to imagine London without them! Indeed, these red buses are one of the symbols of London.
Its advantage is very simple, the typical red double-deckers can transport more passengers than single-decker buses.
Another great thing is that they have an open entry/exit door at the rear which makes it possible to jump on or off whenever the bus stops; you do not need any bus-stop.
Once inside, sitting at the front of the top is a perfect place to look the streets passing by.
Despite the effective tube system, the red double decker will remain my favourite for ever.
Fondest memory: The London Double deckers are officially no longer in regular service since 2005, although they still run on two so called "heritage" routes; the route 9 from Royal Albert Hall via Piccadilly Circus to Aldwych and the route 15 from Trafalgar Square via Strand to Tower Hill.
The double deckers in service have been modernized, but the prototype was the classic old model.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Location, Location, Location
Favorite thing: Wondering exactly where to stay in London? So many areas to choose from. We stayed at a hotel two blocks from Trafalgar Square. This was after canceling our first hotel at Kilburn Park, and our second one in Southwark. Anything near Trafalgar Square is centrally located. Of course, the tube and bus system gets you anywhere you want to go, but I loved being within walking distance of so many famous sights.
Fondest memory: Taking early morning walks outside my hotel to Covent Garden, Soho, Westminster, St. James Park, and getting my early morning latte. Yes, they have plenty of Starbucks there. But no Peets yet.
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: As much as I hate to admit it I have become one of those Londoners that must do everything at warp speed when it comes to the working week. This means rush hour on the tubes and walking around London becomes a very stressful time for everyone.
You will notice many people with a look of pure concentration as they make their way too and from work. So here are some tips to prevent the dirty looks, groans and tuts you may get from the average Londoner.
1. Do you not stand on the left hand side of the escaslators
2. Do not stand directly in front of the tube doors, stand at either side and wait for people to get off the train first before boarding. A personal annoyance of mine and actually it's mostly Londoners themselves doing it who are too eager to grap that empty seat
3. Let the elderly or pregnant women sit down.
4. Try not to loiter if you are lost or trying to work out where to go, move to one side and give people a clear path.
I'm sure we're all the same on holiday, everything is done at a slower pace but it's worth bearing in mind that most people around you are moving at mach 1
Heathrow to Victoria via
Favorite thing: The Heathrow Express is an overland train, not an underground one so there should be enough room for your luggae. As already stated, it stops at Paddington, not Victoria so to get to Victoria you'd need to get a tube on the Circle or District line (if you get the District tube make sure it's the one that goes to Victoria) ... suitases could be a problem on the tube if it's rush hour or particularly busy. You could always get a taxi though - should cost between £10 and £15 depending on exact locations.
I haven't had any personal experience of it but the Park Plaza in Victoria has some decent reviews.
Enjoy your stay!
dot2dot in London
Favorite thing: The dod2dot works fine anywhere into the clekenwell road area. Stay away from the time height increase firm unless you need to get taller they are injn the UK at www.tallplace.com and although they may be able to help the dot2dot usage is subject to users not having gained height or growth in the last 3 months before using.
Hope this helps,
Favorite thing: Greenwich is a borough of London situated on the right bank of the Thames.
Here you can visit the Royal Observatory; the Queen's House and the National Maritime Museum.
The Royal Observatory was founded by order of king Charles II to study astronomy and to fix longitude. The oldest building there is Flamsteed House, designed by Wren in 1675. Inside the observatory there are many instruments used in the past and a collection of time-telling devices.
The Queen's House; was originally part of a royal palace. It was meant by king James I to be the home of his consort, Anne of Denmark. Its construction started in 1616. It was enlarged in 1662.
- Family Travel
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
Favorite thing: It was built in 1819.
This gallery has several luxury shops.
The uniformed guards you see here don' t let people running, whistling, singing...
Fondest memory: Burlington Arcade is located in Clifford Street. The nearest tube to this gallery is "Picadilly Circus".
- Women's Travel
How to get an enlarged righ hippocampus
Favorite thing: A study of the pyschological make-up (I'm not wearing make -up, you calling me a puff ?) of taxi drivers in London has become one of the 'core studies' that A-level students in the United Kingdom now have to study.
Apparantly the amount of 'knowledge' that has to be acquired in order to become a licensed Black Taxi cab driver leads to several inbalances in the brain. This is something that we have known for a long time - the ability of any cab driver to bring any subject around to the issue of immigration and a complete inability to cross over to the south side of the Thames after about 8 PM at night.
On the other hand, you have to admire the amount of imformation that a cabby has to store in his head on the layout of London - there can't be room for much else when you consider that they must know the 320 main routes, through central London. That is some 25,000 streets within a six mile radius of Charing Cross along with the major arterial routes through the rest of London.
He or she must also know 'points of interest' along those routes including streets, squares, clubs, hospitals, hotels, theatres, government and public buildings, railway stations, police stations, courts, diplomatic buildings, important places of worship, cemeteries, crematoria, parks and open spaces, sports and leisure centres, places of learning, restaurants and historic buildings.
You can get some idea of what that involves by looking at the website : www.taxiknowledge.co.uk and taking the on-line test.
The 'average' candidate makes 12 attempts and 34 months to pass - no wonder they want a tip !
Save your legs and catch the bus
Favorite thing: If you are disabled or a senior, save your legs and take the bus instead of the tube. If you take th etube you will have to walk up and down several flights of stairs. Not all stations have elevators.
I have found that the bus can get you around town just as nicely and without that strain on your knees and joints.
- Family Travel
Favorite thing: 2 1/4 hours but you need to be there at least 30 minutes before departure with your ticket or you will not be allowed to board.
Prices vary depending on day, time and type of ticket. Lower prices seem to sell out fast. Link below refers.
Favorite thing: Go to London in September. On a sunny late-summer's evening go to Waterloo station and get on the Reading-bound 18:35 train.
Doesn't matter if all the seats are taken: you'll see more if you stand!
The trains in & out of Waterloo have great views of London. You'll see the Thames with the sun low in the sky to your left.
You'll see small, cottage-style terraced houses on streets almost surrounded by railway lines!
Even in southwest London there are level crossings & people cycling home waiting at the barriers.
People usually talk about things like taking a train across Canada when they talk about great railway journeys. A commuter train out of Waterloo on a sunny September evening is just as interesting: I know, I've done both!
for students: your first week in London
Favorite thing: i hope you don't feel quite overwhelmed on your first day of arrival in London. you'll get used to walking around so quickly even if you're not interested in walking (talking about myself by the way,lol).
of course you need to know your way around for meals, contact numbers for accommodation agencies or offices, pharmacies and so on. Almost in every area you step in, you'll find two popular grocery giant-brand stores, ie, Sainsbury's and Tesco. They offer ready meals, microwave stuff and all at student prices, especially if they are the products with the label 'basics' or 'reduced' for approaching their expiry date. Trust me, it took me one year to grasp all this budget-lifestyle thing,lol. i used to eat outside everyday for both lunch and dinner. Junk-food brands can still offer you reasonable meals.
browse website like www.gumtree.com if you're looking to share accommodation, though i went up to a student accommodation office Britannia off Oxford Street. You can try www.kfproperties.co.uk if you're looking for more luxurious accommodation.
obviously, you may need linen and sheets and plates and utensils. you can ask students-to-leave-soon to get their second-hand stuff at a very cheap price of course, 10 quid for the whole package;) well, my japanese friend told me so though i had my own way of getting these things, the saudi way of course. i recommend Argos store for bed sheets and pillows and it's reasonable. You can get plastic plates and spoons from those grocery stores temporarily. For cosmetics and skin-care products, you can go to Boots and SuperDrug which are everywhere.
You should get yourself a UK phone handset. By that i mean, the best phoning plan is the contract-based. you get the cheapest rate on all the domestic calls against a fixed rate you pay monthly over a 12-month contract or 18. All of the UK phone companies offer you this and it's far more affordable and money-saving than pay-and-go credit-based plans. the plus you get a free handset too.
Fondest memory: I had my japanese and chinese friends teach me all about food, saving and cooking. they started making their own meals from the second day of their arrival and i was like eating kebab and pasta everyday out,lol. that was something to learn, getting independent when it comes to food-making,lol.
oh wait, when i started to make my first meals, it would still remain somehow ready-made...like just mixing cans and pouring ready-made pasta on the plate. God bless the microwave,lol
- Road Trip
- Study Abroad
MAPS, FAMOUS STREETS - links
Favorite thing: London's favourite streets
for students: on your arrival-2
Favorite thing: you may feel overwhelmed first time in london as a student, with not so much in the pocket. to save you time:
- take the tube to central london or whatever you'd like to go. make sure to get an oyster card instead of paper travel card, as your travel ticket within London. it's much cheaper and handy, though i don't agree much with it, with all the routes monitored,lol. if you have a company and lots of luggage, better to take a taxi, as it will cost you up £80 as max, against £14 ticket of the Express train per person.
- if you need to go to only to central london and don't intend to travel on your first day, just ask the tube officer for a) one-single way from zone 6 to zone 1, b) one-day travel card for zone 1 only.
Fondest memory: i remember once the TfL officer tried to get me buy one-day travel card for zone 1-6 which would have costed me a fortune for not using it. not my fondest;) so be warned!
- Study Abroad
- Road Trip
for students: before you arrive in London-1
Favorite thing: Before you arrive, you should ensure that you have done your assignment of getting around.
Please do the following:
- if you're not an EU national, have your visa ready for inspection at customs. Check (on your visa) if you need to register with the police in London, which you should do within one week of your arrival.
- Have a route map of London. You'll be walking A LOT. it's very handy to tell your way around.
- make your own search for accommodation beforehand. You have three options: Either look for a student accommodation office which is expensive if you're a budget student; arrange with a friend to stay with them temporarily; or stay at a budget hotel. there's a wide variety of budget hotel in king's cross, victoria and paddington and they're all within easy access to central london.
- check the address you want to arrive at on TfL, that will save you time asking people around even though it's handy to ask
- good to have some cash with you for transportation, one-week supply of food and pocket money. make sure your credit card can be used internationally. i've met few students who had no clue that their cards didn't work at international stores! better to have either MasterCard or Visa, or check with your bank. you may use traveller's cheque though i don't recommend it, as you need to look for an exchange bureau to use them.
- check your passport to be valid for 3 months at least. some embassies require 6 months.
i know this should come from common knowledge, but i'm stunned when i find out that many students are travel virgin. that's ok...why VT is here;^)
Fondest memory: when my friend picked me up from the airport and my two big 'arab' suitcases was my fondest memory of arrival. we hugged tightly! then he dropped me off at another friend's house that evening.
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