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Big Bus Tour Company
Favorite thing: Touted as bringing London's history into "colorful dramatic life" The Big Bus Tour is one of the best ways to see London if you are short on time.
With three different colored routes, (the green line is a short ride basically linking the red and blue lines) you get an excellent overview of the major sites. The longest of the two, the blue line, takes approxamitely 2 hours to complete the full route where you'll see Kensington Gardens and Kensignton Palace, Regents Park, Oxford and Piccadily Circus, National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey and Parliment Square, London Aquarium, St. Paul's Southwark Cathedral, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London (just to name a few). Hop on and off as many times as you wish at any given stop for a close up-look or to switch to the red or green lines. Your ticket price includes free River Thames Cruise and a walking tour.
Can't recall the price, but take a peek at their website, and go out and conquer London.
Fondest memory: I enjoyed riding on the top of the bus, even though it was a bit frigid, and pointing out the various sites to mom and Kris.
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
Favorite thing: If you are planning to travel around London, the cheapest way is to buy a daily, weekend, weekly, or even monthly travelcard. It depends on how long you are going to be in London. They are valid on busses, trains, tubes and even the DLR. To buy any travelcard longer than a daily, you'll have to get a picture card. Just take a passport photo and proof of ID to any trainstation and they'll sort it out. A travelcard will save you an incredible amount of money in the long run.
- Budget Travel
Stomp over the wibbly-wobbly Bridge
Favorite thing: The Millenium Bridge as it is properly called, is an impressive piece of modern engineering, although less spectacular than it's namesake - the Millenium Bridge across the Tyne in Newcastle.
Heaps of derision were initially poured on it as when it first opened the number of people traversing it, caused it to ossilate up and down - thus making it unsafe, if rather fun.
With the problems fixed it has created a very useful pedestrian link between Tate Modern and St Paul's Cathedral, opening a new an pleasing vista of Wren's Masterpiece.
- Hiking and Walking
Favorite thing: For the first time visitor, the London Pass might actually be a pretty good deal if you find a 1/2 price offer like I did as it gives free entrance to many of the top sights in London (Tower of London, Hampton Court, St. Paul's, Windsor Castle) and avoids the queues at some places although I never found that to be necessary.
I purchased a 6 day pass at 1/2 price for my recent trip to London (unfortunately the offer has expired but I found it on the www.visitlondon.com website) and used it to visit all kinds of places that I wouldn't have seen had I not purchased it.
But to save money at full price you really have to do the math before you purchase, we would not have saved money on my husband's 3 day pass had it not been 1/2 price. It's not as good of a value as the Museum Pass in Paris nor does cutting the queues really add that much benefit.
Fondest memory: www.londonpass.com
Hop On/Hop Off
Favorite thing: http://www.theoriginaltour.com/
Fondest memory: I am usually against organized tours, but I have to admit that Angie and I had a ball on this one. We had limited time in London as it was and wanted to utilize it wisely. Our thought process was that we could use the tour as general transportation and then go back to the places that we wanted to revisit. As it turned out, we just liked being chauferred around. There are two different routes, one with a live guide and one with a recording. We didn't have a preference, although the one with the recording seemed to go places that the other one didn't.
"I had that Sourbugger in the back of my cab once"
Favorite thing: "Really nice bloke he was........anyway guv...you remember Fred Housego.?...he was one of us cabbies and he won 'Mastermind' once, you want to know why ? You get in one of our cabs and your cabbie has to have the 'knowledge' don't he ? Know what that means ? You must know every bleeding street within six miles of Charing Cross, every bleedin' square, bleedin' club, bleedin' hospital, bleedin' hotel , bleedin' Theatre, government and public building, bleedin' railway station, bleedin' police station, court, bleedin' diplomatic building, bleedin' important places of worship, cemetery, crematoria, park and open space, sports and leisure centre, place of learning, restaurant and bleedin' historic building.
That's why us cabbies are the most knowledgeable cab drivers in the world.
And another thing... they may be called black cabs, but we can paint them whatever bleedin' colour we like.
No I'm going south of the Bloody river, tonight ; I'm on me way home. Goodnight.
oi....guv...where's my tip ?
- Road Trip
A useful masterpiece
Favorite thing: The plan of the London Underground is a masterpiece of simplicity, that was originally drawn up by a young draughtsman called Harry Beck. It was based on the electrical diagrams he was used to doing all day. Although it was at first treated with scepticism, it caught on in a big way and is now an indispensible part of London Life.
I've included a copy of the original in the picture. It's had to change somewhat over the years, but the basic format is still clear. The design was so brilliant it has been adopted by just about every other mass transit system across the globe.
It's also been turned into works of art over the years, including a very famous poster for the Tate Art gallery which showed tube lines in lines of paint.
Fondest memory: The advertising on the tube often plays with the map, or inserts new and sometimes amusing station names.
One of my favourites is however the one by Paul Hogan, who advertising that famous Australian beverage (the one in the blue tube) is stood in front of a Japanese tourist and an underground map. He is asked "How do you get to Cockfosters?" to which Paul replies "Like this!" as he extravangantly downs some of the amber nectar.
Being a pedestrian in London
Favorite thing: Generally I'd have to say 'watch out' if you are a pedestrian walking around London - especially if you are not used to places/cities with such congested traffic. In London you can often hear a car horn, this is usually when a pedestrian can't wait for a walk light or is crossing in the middle of the road - in London, on the road, transportation waits for no-one, so just be sure you look both ways and watch your step.
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
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
Ride the red bus
Favorite thing: I know its just a bus, but its what makes London special. The double decker red busses are part of experiencing London and so I highly recommend riding them. The great thing is that if you have an all day travel card from the Underground, it also works for the bus too! Of course if you really want to get somewhere fast, use the underground as traffic in central London is bumper to bumper most of the time. If you have time though, take a ride!
Fondest memory: On the bus, riding around London around Christmas time with all the beautiful decorations was one of my favorite memories. Despite the slow moving traffic, it just gave me more time to appreciate how great London is.
Favorite thing: Because London is so vast and l only had a week l decided to take the bus tour with the Big Bus Company. Bought my ticket in Victoria for £11 normally £17 but l have a student card. This particular tour takes two routes, the red route which takes about 2 hours and the blue route which takes about 3 and half. This also includes a river cruise which l personally thought a waste of time. You pass by the same sites in the bus. If your going to any of the attractions you can buy your tickets from the bus ticket sellers and you won't have to "q" for entry to most places.
Fondest memory: The tour gives you the option of hoping on and off when you feel like it. The supply plastic rain coats if it starts to rain. They conduct the tour is various languages. The ticket is valid for 24 hours. For more information try the following.
Favorite thing: If you don’t fancy walk around the city or you cant afford to take a cab to go to beautiful places of London or may be you are visiting first time and have very short time to see important places, then take one of the sightseeing buses.
These are not very expensive and have guide who explains the history of each place.
The London pass
Favorite thing: The London pass give you entry to a range of places. if you think of London as a kind of giant theme park then £49 for a day is almost reasonable.
A few tricks when you have bought the card
1) Pick a few places that are fairly close together to be able to use the card several times in the day
2) Don't waste time using the card on places that are free or cheap anyway
3) Remember that it often lets you get to the front of the queue
I used one (2002) and basically used it everywhere I could walking from Charing Cross to London Bridge on the South Bank - had a great day.
Highlights on this card include London Zoo, London Aquarium, HMS Belfast, the Globe theatre and the Cutty Sark.
Fondest memory: Always seeing something new - if they put a new kerbstone in where I live it is exciting.
- Family Travel
Bank station in rushhour
Fondest memory: I waited for the underground at the station "Bank" right in the city of London after most people had finished work for the day. I was the only tourist, everybody else was wearing suit and looking important. A very interesting experience ... and one of my favourite pictures of all time.
Oh, talking of the stop "Bank" - it's a tourist trap as well somehow. If you plan to use the "Waterloo and City Line" from "Monument" don't bother going underground but walk to "Bank" instead. I didn't know that this was a trick station and ended up walking around hot smelly underground tunnels for 10 minutes following the signs. I ended up at "Bank".
- Business Travel
Remember what direction the cars are coming!
Favorite thing: I can't state this enough for people, but in the UK, people drive on the left, which absolutely baffles North Americans and Europeans, but then again, this can be applied on the North American/European habit of driving on the right. This can be espeically hard in London, as one is surrounded by so many sights and people; some tourists unconsciously look to the left and just walk across the street, unknowingly stepping into onbound traffic! I heard a story at my hostel that an Estonian kid staying there got hit by a red bus because he didn't look to the right. Ouch
So please everyone, look to the right before crossing the street. Better yet, look both ways and stay on the safe side. Londoners know that a lot of people who visit their town aren't from places that drive on the left, so they've written down where to look on virtually every major pedestrian crossing in the city.
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